A power purchase agreement with Tibbar Energy approved last year by the V.I. Water and Power Authority board finally got the seal of approval Monday night from the Public Services Commission.
WAPA entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement with Tibbar Energy almost a year ago, bringing the biomass energy company one step closer to its goal of operating a power plant and massive agricultural program on St. Croix. WAPA also approved an “interconnection agreement,” which provides a blueprint for how the energy produced by Tibbar will be integrated into WAPA’s grid.
Tibbar will be liable for up to $1.38 million in construction costs to facilitate the interconnection. WAPA will pay 24.5 cents per kilowatt-hour to Tibbar for the first five years of the agreement, 24 cents for years six through 20, and 23 cents for the remainder of the contract. WAPA has an option to extend the contract for an additional five years at 25 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The agreement calls on Tibbar to generate 7 MW for the St. Croix grid. Their facility – which would be located on a 70-acre parcel east of the Anguilla landfill – would run on king grass, a quick-growing and noninvasive grass that company representatives said at Monday’s PSC meeting that is also harvested in a quick cycle.
“This project is completely unique to St. Croix,” Tibbar attorney Kevin Rames added Monday. “It is a public private parternship the likes of which has never been seen on the island.”
Rames said Tibbar will also be working with the V.I. Waste Management Authority, which will be providing some extra biomass to help fuel the plant, and the Department of Agriculture.
Earlier this month, the Government Employees Retirement System’s board of trustees also approved a $15 million loan to Tibbar Energy through its alternative investment program. The board approved the loan with an interest rate of 10 percent and a term of 10 years.
The PSC also approved an interconnection agreement between Vitelco, doing business as Innovative Telephone, and VITELCOM, its wireless affilate (Innovative Wireless); as well as a petition designating Telrite – the company that provides Life Wireless service, a discount wireless service for low-income families – as an eligible telecommunications carrier.