Posts Tagged ‘renewable energy sources’

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

August 27, 2014


By José Luis Rodríguez

A few days ago the Ministry of energy and mines provided an extensive explanation about the prospects for the generation of electricity for the next 15 years, during which it has planned a profound change in the matrix of the national electricity production. In order to have a vision of the importance of these transformations it is necessary to take into account how the sector has evolved over the past 25 years.

One of the hardest hit during the so-called Cuban special period economy was precisely the energy situation, considering that the country did not have enough for the production of oil deposits, nor had other natural resources that assist such lack.

Until 1989 the production of oil and gas did not reach 1 million tons per year and the delivery of energy carriers rested on the import from the former Soviet Union, which reached 13.3 million tons of crude annually up to that date. Even – using oil – saving avoided arrive to consume the amount agreed for imports for some years, which provided additional revenue by millions of dollars in an operation equivalent to the re-exportation of fuel through a special agreement with the Soviets, operation which had already reached 10.2 million tons in the five years 1981-1985.

At the beginning the crisis of 1990s, Cuba produced 671 thousand tons of oil, so away Soviet imports in 1992 – payable in transferable rubles and at a fair price – a severe crisis was faced with decreasing external purchases of petroleum and products of 10.2 million tons in 1990 to 5.5 million in 1993, a decrease of 45.8% in three years.

The effects of such reduction were expected, particularly in the production of electricity, which was mostly based on oil derivatives. In this way, the generation fell 15,025 GWH in 1990 to 12,459 in 1995 to a low of 17.1%.

Already last year the crisis had reached a critical point when generating capacity stood below 40% of its potential due to lack of fuel, which forced the withdrawal of a significant part of the industry, and created a very tense situation in the population due to power outages every 8 hours in the capital of the country and for longer even than in other cities and towns.

This adverse situation began to overcome with the increase of national oil production, which in 1995 reached 471 million tons, and in this they played an important role especially created with Canadian capital ventures. To this was added the adaptation of plants so that they began to burn the very national crude, considered very heavy, but whose use became inevitable in those circumstances.

From the use of the gas attendant of the oil fields in 1997 increased energy production, and in 2000 has managed to accumulate three thousand 269 million tons of oil equivalent. Also power generation equaled the level of 1990, although with a slightly different composition, since the thermal power generated 89%, but the gas turbines covered 9%. On the other hand, the average consumption in the residential sector exceeded the 126 KWH at the beginning of this century, surpassing 3% from 1990.

In the same way, from a greater weight of the tourism sector in the economic growth of the country and the contraction in the industry, fell 2.64 million barrels of oil equivalent energy intensity coefficient for each million dollars of GDP in 1990to 1.99 in 2000, measured at constant prices of the year. In addition, decreased CO2 emissions in terms of Kg/h of 3.18 in 1990 at 2.40, for a reduction of 24.5%.

During decade 2000-2010 occurred also important changes in the Cuban energy sector. A factor that marked the beginning of these changes was the crisis of electricity generation during the second half of 2004. In this case collapsed several thermal power stations, starting with the Antonio Guiteras in Matanzas, which led the country into a situation similar to 1994, reaching reduced generating capacity to 38% of the potential, with the consequent paralysis of many economic activities and the reappearance of similar intensity to the experienced electricity cuts ten years earlier.

Against this complex situation, the country should devote hundreds of millions of dollars -in first place for the purchase of power plants from diesel fuel to ensure the peak of generation of the nights, when demand rose well above the possibility of generating. Then it was necessary to acquire decentralized plants that would use fuel and working more efficiently.

From this experience, it was proposed an intense plan of saving electricity and other energy carriers, giving rise to what would be called as energy revolution, which would be developed in the context of the so-called battle of Ideas, launched from 1999.

(To be continued)

* The author is an advisor of the Center of Research of the Economy
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Bio-energy in Cuba

July 23, 2013


The contribution of renewable sources in 2012 accounted for 21.9 per cent of total primary energy production in the country, with an increase in biomass produced, and the contribution of hydroelectrics
By: Mayte Maria Jimenez

Production of heat, electricity, transforming organic waste into high quality fertilizer and improved hygienic conditions for the reduction of pathogens, are some of the potentials of biogas, an alternative source for producing energy being promoted in various nations, among them Cuba.

According to a recent report published by the National Bureau of Statistics and Information, the past year reported using 240 of the 315 digesters and biogas plants installed in the state sector, increasing the energy these devices replaced by 12.7 per cent.

According to the document, another sector that led to the increase was the energy obtained from biomass, as well as the contribution of hydropower.

In 2012 the contribution of renewable energy sources in Cuba accounted for 21.9 per cent of total primary energy production in the country, which means an increase of 0.3 percentage points compared to 2011.

For example, bagasse from the sugar industry and wood were the main components of biomass energy that influenced this increase. Some 94.5 per cent of the national production of bagasse was consumed in the production of energy, representing 91 per cent of the total energy obtained by direct combustion of biomass.

Meanwhile, the use of firewood in the state sector declined by 3.4 percentage points compared to 2011, but the use as waste from agriculture and forest waste as fuel increases.

Although favorable results are shown, alternatives still need to develop and expand in each of the potential renewable energy sources in the country. This is compounded by the need to implement a legal regulation that encourages their development in the country’s economy.

Further natural energy

On the use of wind energy in the country, there are 6,522 devices in use, primarily used in the extraction of water to replace diesel or electricity consuming pumps.

Of the 7,210 reported windmills in existence, the 9.9 per cent is not in use, with the highest incidence in the provinces of Santiago de Cuba, Artemisa, Pinar del Río and Mayabeque, with 449 mills out of use. However, three wind farms are operating in the territories of Ciego de Ávila, Holguín and Isla de la Juventud, connected to the national power grid since early 2008.

According to the criteria, they are continuing their studies in the areas of greatest wind potential of the country for the installation of new devices and the recovery of those which are not in use.

With regard to energy substitution by using wind devices, the territories with the greatest contribution are Holguín, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, Camaguey and Las Tunas, which accounted for 75.1 per cent of the total of such energy produced in the country.

The document confirms that as a result of the use of the kinetic energy of water, in 2012, 180 units were working in the country, generating 110.9 GW.h altogether.

It is estimated that the system existing dams and micro-dams ensures the use of water for the population and the economy, as well as electricity generation.

Being located in remote areas, contribute to the saving of fuel used in the transportation of water.

Similarly, the use of solar radiation to produce heat and electricity in Cuba is a reality that every day increases with the installation of photovoltaic devices in rural and mountainous areas of the country, in remote areas with difficult access for the National Electric System (SEN) networks and priority sectors.

Obtaining hot water from the use of solar heaters allows considerable energy savings, generalizing its use mainly in tourist areas and homes.

Some 6402 solar arrays are in use, with notable results in the conservation of these under the onslaught of hurricanes.

The provinces of Granma, Havana, Las Tunas, Holguin, Guantanamo and Santiago de Cuba have the greatest number of these devices installed and in use, with 71.8 per cent of the total, and employed especially in the sectors of education and public health.

Translated by ESTI for JuventudRebelde

Twelfth World Wind Energy Conference Underway in Cuba

June 4, 2013


(acn) The development and prospects of the use of renewable energy sources in Cuba will capture, from today until Friday, the attention of the participants at the 12th World Wind Energy Conference.

This event, based in the Havana Conventions Centre, will also exhibit the Cuban achievements in this area, which allow the replacement of a portion of the fossil fuels used in electricity generation.

As is traditional in the meetings of the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), experts from its various working groups will show results and challenges, Conrado Moreno , president of the organizing committee, told reporters.

The involvement of universities and scientific institutions in the search for solutions to the oil depletion and the rise of the international financial crisis will be announced to the more than 600 delegates from 40 countries.
UN entities, such as UNDP , UNESCO and UNIDO, will attend this global forum.

The event’s program includes the presentation of members of ¨La Colmenita¨ children group who will perform allegorical acts to environmental protection and the use of renewable energy sources.


(Prensa Latina) Cuba will show its progress at the 12th Congress of the World Wind Energy Association and Renewable Energy Exhibition (WWEC2013), which begins today at the Conference Center in Havana.

The theme of the event, specially focused on the Caribbean and Central America region, is “Opening the Doors to Caribbean Wind”, with presentations, exchanges, and discussions of knowledge on wind energy and renewable energy sources in general, according to organizers.

Cuba plans to build at least 10 percent of its electricity generation through alternative sources by 2030, according to Dr. Conrado Moreno, director of the Center of Study for Renewable Energy Technologies.

Over the past few years, Cuba has increased its development of wind-based energy and renewable energy in general, and despite being at an economic disadvantage with other countries, has a program that it will be exhibiting during sessions of this international meeting, starting today through June 5.

The objective of WWEC2013 is to support the development of integrated strategies in business, government and local communities, to harness the immense potential of wind energy and other renewable energy sources, according to the organizing committee.

The program includes panels and presentations focused on models, business, politics, finance, regional integration of renewable energy sources, technology, human resources training, among others.

The World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), the Center of Study for Renewable Energy Technologies of the Jose Antonio Echeverria Polytechnic Institute in Havana, the Ministry of Basic Industry, and the Latin American Wind Energy Association, among others, are organizing this event.


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