Cuba and its energetics perspective: a recent review (II)


By José Luis Rodríguez

As part of the campaign to save energy, from 2005 took place a replacement mass of kerosene and LPG for cooking, as well as home appliances effects in all households. Introduced electric cookers as well as new appliances of Chinese origin, who settled after delivery of old equipment.

These effects were sold at subsidized prices to the population by an estimated value of more than 19 billion pesos that were depreciated in many cases through installment payments over several years. To get an idea of the magnitude of this operation, enough to say that 4.4 million appliances and, of them, 2.6 million refrigerators were replaced.

Logically, fell the consumption of kerosene between 2005 and 2012, 68.7% and LPG by 51.4%. For its part, the average electricity consumption of households increased from 140, 2 KWH in 2005 to 172, 2 last year, an increase of 22.8%.

However, the price of WTI oil, which averaged 56,50 USD per barrel in 2005, rose to 97.90 USD by 2013, for an increase of 73.3%, which significantly reduced the prospects of saving foreseen ten years ago, taking into account that 96% of electricity generation dependent on oil, which in turn is necessary to import 53%.

To decrease this impact electricity rates were increased in 2005 and 2010. These increases involved for the average residential consumption growth of 56.1% in the Bill for the first year and 23.6% five years later, but they did not slow down the increase in the consumption of households, which has remained up to the present.

Also in 2004 was agreed with Venezuela that services provided by Cuba to that country will be tradable, and thanks to that agreement the payment of the imported fuel stabilized from the revenues generated by the Cuban exports of services, which – in general – have managed to compensate for price increases of crude oil on the world market.

After the crisis faced by the country in 2004, were able to stabilize power generation, at the time that it undertook an extensive process investor to improve the efficiency of distribution networks.

Despite the measures taken, it was necessary to create a multidisciplinary committee responsible for designing the policy development perspective of renewable sources and the efficient use of the energy that would allow a transformation to bottom of the energy matrix in 2012.

Analyses have led, on the one hand, to continue to develop domestic oil production. On the other hand, it is of increasing energy security, reducing external dependence on energy carriers.

In relation to oil production, remain investment to raise the levels of efficiency in extraction and compensate for declination of wells in operation. However, prospects of greater importance are located in the extraction of oil offshore.

In this regard should be remembered that the exclusive economic zone of Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico covers 112 thousand square kilometers, divided into 59 blocks, of which there are hired 22 with eight countries. These opportunities of foreign investment were promoted in the recently held twenty-first World Petroleum Congress, carried out in Moscow in June this year.

From 2004 up to the present have been drilled four wells, part of which have given oil but not in terms of commercial exploitation. However, Cuban specialists estimate a potential of reserves up to 20 billion barrels of oil offshore, although in the U.S. the figure is located between five and nine billion. In any case its figures which – materialize – would change radically the equation energy of Cuba.

To enhance national energy security has been highlighted as fundamental problems high dependence on imported fuels, the high average cost of delivered energy, strong environmental pollution and low utilization of renewable sources of energy (FRE).

As already noted, the country only covers its needs of oil equivalent by 47%; the generation of a KWH of electricity costs in foreign currency of USD 0, 21 and 0.065 CUP, which is very high when compared with other countries; the emission of CO2, although it has declined, still remains at high levels, and FRE utilization in electricity generation is only 4.3%.

The strategy designed to deal with this situation is basically continue oil production, especially offshore, and raise the electrical generation from FRE to 24% of the total 2030. The development of the latter requires investment estimated at 3 billion dollars, which also involve the participation of foreign funding and intergovernmental loans to carry them out.

The program includes mainly 19 bioelectrical plants associated with the sugar industry, with a capacity of 755 thousand KW, at a cost of 1 $ 290 million recoverable in a period between six and eight years; 633 thousand KW from wind energy – mainly on the North coast of the eastern part of the country – with an investment of 1 120 million dollars to recover between four and six years; 700,000 KW of photovoltaic energy, with an investment of 1 050 million dollars should recover in the next 11 to 13 years, and 56 000 KW in hydropower, with an investment of 110 million to recover between four and six years. In addition, raising the capacity to generate 30,000 GWH in 2030 will require further investments in the rest of the system.

Finally, it should not be taken into account the participation of the non-State sector in the development of small facilities capable of generating electricity from renewable sources and which may represent an economic solution for communities in rural areas.

Another aspect is the introduction of electricity rates for the residential sector that really stimulate savings and penalizing not only spending.

The elevation of the energy independence of the Cuban economy is a factor of great importance within the transformations underway, if we consider the need to reduce the weight of imported fuels in the balance of payments, which is estimated went from 32% of the value of imports in 2008 to 46.9 percent in 2012, according to the Statistical Yearbook of Cuba.
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