Cuba to boost renewable energy use in 2013

Cuba has planned to press ahead with new programs in 2013 to boost the use of renewable and clean energy sources such as wind, sun and sugarcane, Minister of Energy and Mines Alfredo Lopez Valdes said Tuesday.

The government has set up a committee to outline a strategy and guide investment in the field, Lopez Valdes said during a meeting of Cuban parliament’s Committee on Energy and Environment intended to discuss energy policies for the coming year.

It has decided to expand clean energy production in the country following a feasibility study and a decision to curb spending on fuel imports, he added.

Cuba already has several wind farms, and plans to open another one next year in northern Las Tunas province with a designed power-generating capacity of 51,000 kilowatts.

Also in the pipeline are solar farms in different parts of the country, which are expected to have a combined capacity of 10,000 kilowatts. A 1,000-kilowatt solar farm is currently being built in the central province of Cienfuegos.

Officials also have approved a plan to build two power plants that will use residual sugarcane as raw materials.

One plant will be located in western Matanzas with a capacity of 20,000 kilowatts, and the other will be set up in central Ciego de Avila with a capacity of 30,000 kilowatts.

Cuba meets 50 percent of its energy needs through domestic oil production, with the rest supplemented by imports from its political and economic ally Venezuela.