Raúl attends inauguration
Country’s electricity capacity now in excess of maximum demand
Agreements with Canadian Sherritt Company anticipate investments in the mining-energy sector worth $1.25 billion
THE Cuban-Canadian joint venture ENERGAS S.A. has opened two 35 Megawatt electricity generating plants fired by accompanying gas from oilfields in East Havana.
With an increase of 70MW, the capacity for energy produced through gas has risen to 495MW; that is to say 13% of the total energy generated throughout the country.
First Vice President Raúl Castro presided over the official inauguration of these installations and the signing of an agreement between the National Electricity Union (UNE), the Cupet enterprise and the Sherrit International Company – all shareholders of ENERGAS – for the installation of a new 125MW steam turbine at the Boca de Jaruco power plant, also in Habana province.
With this event, the combined cycle to increase efficiency in the exploitation of primary energy from fuel has been completed.
Carlos Lage, vice president of the Council of State, said that at the present time, generating capacity is almost 20% above maximum demand, which at peak hours can reach some 2500MW per hour.
With gas production alone, Cuba now has “a greater capacity than it would have done with the first thermoelectric nuclear reactor in Cienfuegos – which was 440MW – and with the advantage that it is less of an investment, reduces pollution in the environment and is the most efficient in terms of generating electricity through its use of a fuel that virtually has no cost whatsoever, given that it is an accompanying gas derived from the oil production,” according to Carlos Lage.
For his part, Ian W. Delaney, executive president of Sherritt, confirmed that “these are the most modern installations in the world and we hope to construct many more of this kind¼ With all of this, we will reach a capacity of 500MW with the joint operations established in Cuba with UNE and Cubapetróleo.”
The Energy Revolution that has been underway for several years has implied a change in the concepts of electricity production and consumption and the optimization of infrastructure.
“Today we can say that 33% of the country’s electricity is generated with a high level of efficiency, employing gas or modern engines that have the lowest indexes of consumption in the world,” said Carlos Lage, adding that modernization would continue until complete efficiency and profitability is achieved.
“In the thermoelectric stations, the specific consumption is between 270 and 280 grams of fuel per kilowatt. Some units use more than 300 and the engines that are currently being installed consume 200 grams per kilowatt.”
Although it has now been confirmed that there are no power cuts caused by a lack of generation, a tremendous problem still remains to be resolved: the renovation of the distribution networks, the poor state of which maintains 6,000 areas of low voltage throughout the national territory.
MORE OIL AND GAS FOR THE COUNTRY
According to Carlos Lage, around 3.45 billion cubic meters of gas are being produced every day, 335,000 of which go directly to the City of Havana and are used by almost one million people for cooking. The rest is used to generate electricity following a cleaning process.
“The plan is to increase gas production at the same rate that new oil wells are drilled and that we will be able to use the total capacity installed in such a way that every time there is a new discovery of gas it will be immediately connected to the new power stations,” he added.
The Cuban vice president also reported that this year the country is going to drill 39 wells, 13 of which will be exclusively managed by the state enterprise Cupet. The rest of the exploration projects will be carried in conjunction with foreign companies with which Cuba has already signed operating agreements.
SHERRITT TO INVEST $1.25 BILLION
The Canadian company Sherritt, whose presence on the island can be seen in the extraction of nickel, oil and gas, is anticipating investment in these areas, together with the production of electricity, valued at $1.25 billion over the coming years.
According to a statement by executive president Ian Delaney, this is his favorite country to work in. “My company,” he added, “is proud to participate in Cuban development.” (Navil García)