Wind energy in Cuba: Construction of 8 wind farm plants

Cuba is studying the construction of eight new wind farms by the year 2020 with a potential generating capacity of 280 MW, the official Juventud Rebelde newspaper reported over the weekend.

Installation of these wind turbines would require “a significant amount” of investment, the director of emergency power generation and renewable energy sources, Aleisly Valdes Viera, told the newspaper, without providing figures.

The investment “would be recovered in less than 10 years,” first of all by saving more than 216,000 tons of fuel a year from generating electricity using conventional technologies, Valdes Viera said.

Officials have concluded from studies carried out that six of the new wind farms would generate 30 MW of electricity and two would produce 50 MW.

Three of the wind farms would be located in the eastern town of Banes in Holguin province, two in Jesus Menendez in Las Tunas province, one at Sierra de Cubitas in Camaguey, one at Chambas in Ciego de Avila, and another in Corralillo in the central province of Villa Clara.

Essential for obtaining the electricity gain sought will be a study of the operational results of four wind farms that have been functioning in the country for several years, the first of which went into service in 1999, Valdes Viera said.

These installations, whose mission is to contribute energy to the national electric grid and which operate in the eastern provinces of Ciego de Avila and Holguin, and in the Isla de la Juventud municipality south of Havana, were made with French, Chinese and Spanish technology, and have a total power output of only 11.7 MW.

These four wind farms suffer from “inadequacies that obstruct energy production and availability and impair their operational reliability,” Valdes Viera said.

Studies show that Cuba could produce between 1,200 MW and 3,500 MW with wind power alone. In 2011, the island produced some 4 million tons of oil and natural gas, chiefly used for generating electricity. Cuba produces 80,000 barrels per day of petroleum – about 50 percent of its national consumption – which means it continues to be an oil-importing country.