Cuba’s Minister of Energy and Mines Alfredo López Valdés has stated that investments envisaged in the Cuban renewable energy sector between now and 2030 will cover the installation of bioelectrical plants generating 755-megawatt (MW) based on the present potential of 22 sugarcane mills.
“By then, the country aspires to be generating 24% of domestic electricity from renewable sources and the sugarcane sector will play a key role supplying up to 14%.”
According to Bárbara Hernández, an engineer with the Azcuba group, the generation capacity of the bioelectrical plants linked to the sugarcane sector could reach 860 MW in 25 plants nationwide, from the western province of Artemisa to Santiago de Cuba in the east.
These installations use biomass residues from the milling process, known as sugarcane bagasse. Hernández highlighted that since 2014, Azcuba has negotiated the assembly of 11 bioelectrical plants, representing 60% of the total 755 MW foreseen in the government endorsed plan. Four are state run and seven are the result of foreign investment. According to Energy and Mines Minister López Valdés, the investment program also foresees the installation of 700 MW photovoltaic parks in different provinces.
All the projects are backed by pre-feasibility studies and guaranteed inter-connection with the national grid.
He added that there are presently 22 photovoltaic parks with a 37 MW capacity in operation and other seven with a capacity of 15mw will be concluded this year.
“We have credit worth 150 million dollars for the construction of 40 photovoltaic parks, some of which will be finished this year. We also have a Chinese donation and interest-free credits that will allow the addition of a further 9 MW this year.”
The minister explained that by the end of this year, 17% of photovoltaic energy generation foreseen in the 2030 development plan will be in operation.
Another loan from the Renewable Energy Agency will facilitate the creation of another four parks with a capacity of 10 MW and credit conceded to the electronics industry will result in a further 40 MW from 16 parks.
Four parks with a 50 MW capacity have been provisionally sanctioned at the Mariel Special Development Zone and their paperwork is already at a well advanced stage.
The minister said that he “foresees construction works starting this year, without any complications or delays.”
The program also includes the generation of 633 MW through wind energy. “At present, the installation of 14 parks to be installed in the north-eastern region of the country is undergoing negotiation,” the minister commented.