Cuba pushes development of renewable energies

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HAVANA, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) — Cuba is working hard to develop different forms of renewable energies to transform its existing structure of power generation and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, Minister of Energy and Mines Alfredo Lopez said Tuesday.

At the opening of the “Cuba 2018 Renewable Energies” business forum, Lopez pointed out that the Caribbean island state has a long-term policy for the development of green energies and environmental sustainability.

“To fulfill this program we must increase the participation of renewable energy sources up to 24 percent in the country’s electricity generation by 2030, an ambitious but necessary goal for our country,” said the minister.

Lopez said that with this plan adopted in 2014, Cuba intends to replace 1.75 million tons of fossil fuels per year, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere.

“Cuba, still a developing nation, makes a huge effort to join the rest of the world in the effort to mitigate the effects of climate change,” he stressed.

The forum co-sponsored by the European Union (EU) has attracted more than 80 international companies from 16 countries. It aims partly to show international firms the island nation’s business opportunities in the green energy sector where Havana needs external financing of some 4 billion U.S. dollars.

Currently, Lopez said using sugarcane leftovers to produce biomass electricity is Cuba’s main alternative means of power generation.

“The Cuban sugar industry will be an important source of energy because we’ll not only produce sugar and alcohol, but also generate electricity,” said the minister.

“Biomass represents 14 percent, compared with the 24 percent we intend to generate as clean energy by 2030,” he added.

The Cuban minister said bioelectric plants will be established to process sugarcane biomass in 27 sugar mills in the country for an output otherwise consuming 960,000 tons of fuel annually.

There are now in Cuba three such plants in operation, 10 others under negotiations and another 14 available for foreign investment.

One of the most important goals of this business forum “is to promote the participation of foreign investment in these 14 sugar mills,” Lopez said.

Regarding wind energy, Lopez said it will represent 6 percent of the power generation by 2030 with a total of 13 wind farms set up in the island nation’s northeast. Now in operation are two wind farms which use Chinese technology.

Cuba also deems solar energy as a priority to develop, planning to run 201 solar parks nationwide.

“At this moment there are 40 photovoltaic parks in operation, during this year 37 parks with Cuban investment will start generating electricity along with another 21 with foreign capital,” said Lopez.

The energy business forum runs through Feb. 1.

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