Cuba’s Energy Disaster Drives Residence Must Speed up Power Transition



A worker walks through the facilities of the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes thermoelectric plant in the central province of Cienfuegos. Most of Cuba's thermoelectric plants, almost all of which were built with technology from the now defunct Soviet Union and Eastern European socialist bloc, have a lifespan of 30 to 35 years, and it would take 40 to 80 million dollars to repair and upgrade each one, according to industry executives. CREDIT: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS
A employee walks via the services of the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes thermoelectric plant within the central province of Cienfuegos. Most of Cuba’s thermoelectric vegetation, nearly all of which had been constructed with expertise from the now defunct Soviet Union and Jap European socialist bloc, have a lifespan of 30 to 35 years, and it will take 40 to 80 million {dollars} to restore and improve every one, in line with business executives. CREDIT: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS
  • by Luis Brizuela (havana)
  • Inter Press Service

In current weeks, blackouts have been widespread within the 15 provinces of this Caribbean island nation.

Breakdowns in a number of of the eight thermoelectric vegetation and delayed upkeep in 18 of its 20 producing blocks are the reason for the era deficits, in line with the authorities.

As well as, there are malfunctions within the distribution methods – strains, substations, transformers – because of the lack of spare components.

Cuba produces half of the gasoline burned in a number of of its thermoelectric vegetation, however a good portion will depend on imports.

Below bilateral agreements, Cuba ought to obtain some 53,000 barrels per day of oil and derivatives from Venezuela. However the collapse of that South American nation below the load of its lingering disaster implies that shipments are irregular, in line with media studies, though the native authorities doesn’t present exact figures.

There may be additionally a reported lower within the volumes of pure gasoline related to oil, utilized in services on the northwest coast, a deficit that may solely be overcome by the use of new oil wells, in line with business executives.

“The working reserves within the energy system are low and at instances have been beneath what’s required to fulfill shopper power demand, which implies the ability provide is essentially and inevitably affected,” Minister of Power and Mines Liván Arronte mentioned on tv on Sept. 14.

For Cuban households, the present disaster is paying homage to the extended energy outages of the early Nineteen Nineties, when after the collapse of the then Soviet Union, the island misplaced its primary gasoline provider.

In September 2019, one other power disaster occurred when the administration of then President Donald Trump (2017-Jan 2021) took steps to forestall the arrival of tankers to the island, as a part of measures to stiffen the financial and monetary embargo that america has had in place towards Cuba since 1962.

“The U.S. authorities has devoted itself to threatening and blackmailing corporations that offer gasoline to Cuba, and this can be a qualitative leap within the intensification and software of unconventional measures towards these concerned in worldwide transportation, with none authorized or ethical authority,” acknowledged the 2020 annual report on the embargo.

Authorities in Cuba argue that the sanctions hinder entry to credit score to buy components and different inputs, which delays the required upkeep of the thermal vegetation.

Cuba’s dwindling coffers are in no situation to tackle additional bills, given the results of three many years of financial disaster and the impression of the covid-19 pandemic that has made it essential to prioritise imports of medical provides and meals.

The facility grid is in essential situation and the nonetheless excessive degree of dependence on gasoline imports is an element of vulnerability and undermines the nation’s projected power sovereignty and independence, analysts warn.

Growing old infrastructure

Cuba has an put in potential of greater than 6500 MW/h, however the true era capability is barely half of that, and when a number of generator models are disconnected from the Nationwide Electrical System (SEN), it’s unattainable to fulfill peak demand of 3300 to 3500 MW/h.

The nation has eight thermal energy vegetation with 20 era blocks and a complete capability of some 2600 MW/h, equal to 40 p.c of the electrical energy that may doubtlessly be generated on this island nation of 11.2 million individuals.

A number of of them are capable of deal with Cuba’s extra-heavy crude (between seven and 18 levels API), whose sulphur content material of seven to eight p.c will increase corrosion within the boilers, making it mandatory to cut back the time between routine upkeep, to 50 to 70 days a 12 months.

Cuba has an oil and accompanying gasoline manufacturing equal to three.5 million tons per 12 months (22 million barrels), from which 2.6 million tons (16.3 million barrels) of crude oil and roughly one billion cubic meters of pure gasoline are obtained, in line with 2020 knowledge launched by the official media.

The community of energy vegetation varieties the spine of a system that’s complemented within the 15 provinces with gasoline oil engines and diesel mills, which have additionally been hit by the scarcity in spare components and which use a part of the 150 to 200 million {dollars} a month in gasoline imports, in line with official studies.

The remainder of Cuba’s electrical energy comes from native liquefied petroleum gasoline (practically eight p.c), renewable sources (5 p.c) and three p.c from floating models (patanas), which additionally use fossil fuels, in Mariel Bay, 45 km west of Havana.

With one exception, the thermoelectric vegetation, primarily constructed with expertise from the defunct Soviet Union and Jap European socialist bloc, have handed their 30 to 35 12 months lifespan, and 40 to 80 million {dollars} are wanted to restore every plant, in line with business leaders.

To alleviate the present disaster, the federal government introduced an funding scheme geared toward reactivating at the moment unused era potential and prioritising the staggered upkeep programme.

“The technique’s tasks embrace 4 thermal era blocks of 200 MW/h every, which can use nationwide crude oil and … right now there are tasks in several phases to supply 3500 MW/h from renewable sources, which have been affected by the present disaster,” mentioned Arronte.

Renewable energies: ups and downs

In 2014, the Cuban authorities authorised a “Coverage for the event of renewable power sources and environment friendly power use by 2030”, which goals to progressively scale back the usage of fossil fuels and units a goal for twenty-four p.c of power to come back from clear sources by that 12 months.

The coverage can also be geared in the direction of fomenting international funding, in each massive and small native tasks, with the target of enhancing power effectivity and self-sufficiency, with installations primarily related to the nationwide grid.

In response to some estimates, greater than three billion {dollars} in financing will probably be wanted with a view to develop greater than 2000 MW/h of latest capability in renewable sources over the subsequent 9 years.

Decree-Legislation No. 345 handed in 2019 on the event of renewable sources incorporates incentives to advertise self-supply from clear power, the sale of surplus power to the nationwide grid, in addition to tariff and tax advantages for people and authorized entities that use these sources.

The regulation additionally proposes the set up of probably the most environment friendly LED bulbs in public streetlights, the sale of photo voltaic water heaters and environment friendly home equipment, in addition to public training campaigns on the necessity to save power.

Cuba ended 2020 with an put in capability of virtually 300 MW/h from renewable sources, a few of whose installations had been supported by worldwide tasks and establishments.

Research point out that the growth of renewable sources may scale back the usage of fossil fuels in electrical energy era by 2.3 million tons a 12 months and will lower carbon dioxide emissions by eight million tons.

Nonetheless, these projections conflict with the excessive value of applied sciences to acquire power from daylight, wind, water and biomass.

In Cuba, which goals to develop all of those sources, the photo voltaic power programme is probably the most superior, in a rustic with common photo voltaic radiation of greater than 5 kilowatts per sq. meter per day, which is taken into account excessive.

In late July, resolutions had been revealed permitting individuals to import solar energy methods, freed from customs duties and with out industrial functions, in addition to tools, components and parts that generate or function as renewable power sources.

Some chain shops additionally promote photo voltaic panels for greater than 1,500 {dollars} per unit, in comparison with the month-to-month salaries of Cubans that vary from 87 to 400 {dollars}.

Though the state should buy surplus power from non-public customers, individuals consulted by IPS mentioned it was not price the price of buying and organising a photovoltaic system and the a number of years wanted to get better the preliminary funding.

One other pending challenge is the expertise to build up photo voltaic power to be used at evening.

© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service




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