Viaspace and Agricorp to develop 12MW power plant in Nicaragua

California-based Viaspace has signed a joint development agreement with Grain Hill/Agricorp; it will establish a company to develop, build, own and operate a 2,100 acre Giant King Grass plantation (and an adjacent 12MW biomass power plant) on the Agricorp Agricola Miramontes plantation on the shores of Lake Nicaragua.

The joint development agreement was co-signed by Viaspace CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen and Grain Hill/Agricorp CEO and Board President, Amilcar Ybarra-Rojas. The two companies will be equal shareholders in the new joint venture and lead the development of the plantation and power plant project.

Project development has already begun and debt and equity financing for the power plant will be solicited, said Viaspace. Meetings recently between the companies and the Nicuraguan government have secured approvals and licenses, long-term power purchase agreements, debt and equity financing, and a contract with an engineering procurement and construction company to build the power plant, said the US company.

"I am confident that together we can rapidly bring this renewable, green energy project to Nicaragua,” said Dr. Carl Kukkonen. “The key to successful financing and operation of a biomass power plant is having a reliable, low-cost source of biomass for the lifetime of the power plant. With our co-located Giant King Grass plantation, we will be growing our own fuel.”

“Agricorp is already growing and milling rice on the same plantation,” he added. “The waste products are rice straw and rice husks and these can be burned in the same power plant. We will have the security of both fuel sources."

"This is an important project to provide clean, renewable electricity for Nicaragua and jobs for our people,” said Grain Hill CEO and Board President, Amilcar Ybarra-Rojas. “Through our Joint Development Agreement with Viaspace, Agricorp is leading the interface with the power customers, grid connection, plantation operations and plant permitting. Viaspace is taking the lead in project development, Giant King Grass, power plant technology selection and financial modeling."

“We are actively discussing similar Giant King Grass plantations co-located with power plant projects in several countries around the globe,” said Viaspace Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe. “We believe that our project with Agricorp in Nicaragua will be an international model that can be scaled and replicated anywhere there is a suitable climate and growing conditions for Giant King Grass.”

Further reading

Biomass: When could torrefaction be commercially viable?

Natural Power secures Biotricity Biomass contract in Ireland

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