This January Cuba confirmed its policy of breaking away from the long dependence on oil when it allied with China, one of the leading nations, by need, in the development of renewable energy sources. During a three-day forum in Havana, the two countries signed 10 agreements to prop the official programme directed at transforming power generation in the Caribbean nation.
With the participation of 18 companies from the Asian nation and 20 from the hosts, both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in industry with a view to prioritising the integral development of photovoltaic, wind and hydraulic power. The agreements included from the production of equipment for this to the construction, operation and management of these areas.
Led by Cuban Industries Minister Salvador Pardo Cruz and the director of the Information Centre for Industrial Development of China, GuChengkui, the business forum met from January 18 to 20. The participants studied projects to create capacities in a country that has decided to increase to 24 per cent in 2030 the participation of renewable energy in the production of electricity.
The sun, wind and biomass have a low presence in Cuba’s energy matrix. The government’s plans hope to raise the participation of renewable sources to 4.65 per cent this year, fundamentally using sugar cane biomass and the photovoltaic parks, from the 3.62 per cent attained in 2016.
As a result of the forum, the Cuban Electronics Group and the Asian giant’s Haier Company signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint venture and a centre for the development, research and application of renewable sources.
Other important steps were taken by the Cuban group of the Iron, Steel and Machine Industry: a letter of intent with the Chinese Sany Company for the joint manufacturing and development of wind towers and cranes and an agreement with the Yutong group for the development of electrical buses fuelled with renewable energy sources. Along that same line, the Chinese CNAICO Company is advancing toward the development and assembly of electric vehicles in Cuba.
Havana is boosting a strong programme of investments in energy, placing emphasis on renewable sources, as part of the Development Plan until 2030. Progress in the energy sector guarantees that the economy has a systematic support for all its productions and also guarantees electricity for the population round the clock, the director of investments and electricity businesses in the Cuban Energy and Mines Ministry, Juan Manuel Presa, explained at the forum.
“There is no GDP growth if we don’t work in that sphere, and to achieve it at the pace we need foreign participation is necessary,” said Presa to the guests. According to data from the Economy Ministry, the country estimates at 3.7 billion dollars the expenditure to expand renewable energy sources. The investment would be recovered through the saving of millions of tons of oil that the country continues importing.
The programmes include from the import of equipment to the development by Cuba of its own industry. The solar panel factory in Pinar del Río is making investments to modernise and expand its technology in order to support dozens of photovoltaic solar parks being expanded throughout the country.
China is a good ally, a country that has privileged this option as an alternative to its low oil potential.
According to studies from the International Energy Agency and the global REN 21 network, the Asian giant is the nation that most uses in the world hydraulic, photovoltaic and wind power, and the one that makes the most investments in the development of electricity based on renewable fuels in general. With these sources today it sustains almost 30 per cent of its energy spending.
“Developing the renewable energy industry is one of the principal focuses of Cuba and China, since it is a very efficient way to boost the development of the economy,” said GuChengkui in Havana.
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