Cuba expands its energy capacity

The power plants inaugurated in Boca de Jaruco and Moa classify among the biggest investments undertaken in the country in recent years.

Energas gives a more efficient change of direction to the exploitation of the gas that accompanies Cuba’s largest oil deposits.

Energas gives a more efficient change of direction to the exploitation of the gas that accompanies Cuba’s largest oil deposits.

Foto: Energas gives a more efficient change of direction to the exploitation of the gas that accompanies Cuba’s largest oil deposits.

Cuba’s priorities in basic investments in infrastructure even extend to a sensitive area in any economy, energy. This year opened with the inauguration of new power generation capacities in industrially strong regions in the west and east of the island. They also point to a more effective and efficient exploitation of the country’s own energy sources.


Built at a cost of 349 million dollars by Canada’s Sherritt and the island’s Cubapetróleo, the combined cycle of stage eight began operations early this year in the Energas joint venture. As a singularity, this industry generates power based on the so-called accompanying gas of the oil deposits located on the northern coast, between Havana and Varadero.


The plant, located in Boca de Jaruco, incorporates a steam turbine and other technologies that allow for adding 150 megawatt/hours to the National Power System. But the investors especially highlight that with the expansion and technological transformation the efficiency in the exploitation of this fuel increased by 46 per cent; before it was only 29 per cent.


With centres in Varadero, Boca de Jaruco and Puerto Escondido, the Energas Company now supplies some 480 MW/h to the country. Its strategic value is due to the use of a fuel that used to be lost and harmed the environment, as well as the fact of being located along a costal circuit where the country’s principal oil deposits are located. The Western Oil Drilling and Extraction Company produced more than 1.415 million tons of oil last year.


The Energas plants are also located close to other producing industries, some of them for export and which are large energy consumers, cities like the capital and Matanzas, ports and the country’s principal tourist destination: Varadero.


The investment took 36 months with the participation of specialised companies. According to its operators’ comments, this combined cycle process hands over electricity – 14 per cent of what Cuba consumes – at a very low cost, dozens of annual tons of sulphur, liquefied gas from oil, the known butane gas, and other derivatives and solvents of industrial or domestic interest.


With this new step Energas perfects a system that avoids the escape of pollutants into the atmosphere. The Science, Technology and Environment Ministry has given it many awards for the correct management of the environment.


As a sign of the importance the government confers on his project, the official inauguration of this new stage of Energas, considered the most technologically complex electricity investment in recent years in Cuba, was attended by the Council of State vice president, Commander Ramiro Valdés, heading a delegation of several ministers.


A while later, Valdés also cut the ribbon for the inauguration of another less relevant work. With sights set on an important export sector for the country, the nickel industry, an Electric Diesel Station, with an installed capacity of 184 MW, officially kicked off in February.


The construction concluded at an investment cost of also more than 300 million dollars. Its first generating unit synchronised with the National Power System last year, during the adjustment and start-up stage.


Equipped with 10 engine-driven generators and other technologies, this station adds to the strong demand for electricity that characterises the nickel industry in Moa and other factories in the province of Holguín.


The government also opened a power substation, the only one in the country that handles the three levels of tension in transmission and subtransmission. With a compact design and advanced means, this enclave will replace two nearby installations that used to carry out the same function, but which are technologically old.


Because of the respective financial cost of Moa’s Electric Diesel Station and the new combined cycle stage of Energas, each one classifies among the largest investments concluded by Cuba in recent years. (2015)

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