Renewable Energy Development
This initiative was launched on Thursday (November 13, 2008) at 11.30 in auditorium. The structure is around the five areas of the IUCN program, including energy. The aim is to add value to ongoing work in the region.
The reasons of this changing were rising oil price and in the other hand there was a growing of oil dependencies. This gives negative impacts on Carribean economics and livelihoods. In the condition of renewable energy was underexploited and there was a growing interest in renewable resources, the government tried to develop renewable energy. This implementation is executed in the situation of the lack of technologies, experience, or appropriate policy environment.
Cuba a few years ago was facing a real energy crisis, 16 hours of electricity cuts and therefore the economy was going to collapse under this system. In 2004 after some series of summer balcksout, in term of short response, the government took action. They implemented energy revolution. Government workers went door to door replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFL's.
Wind energy is today mainly used for water pumping, with over 6 700 wind-powered pumps currently in operation. Wind has not yet been significantly exploited for power generation. It began with small generators used to extract water from the wells for cattle ranches. Currently, there are three wind farms set up in Ciego de Ávila (Figure 2), Holguín and the Isla de la Juventud, and several places are being studied to set up new farms.
A wind map of the entire country was recently created with 32 areas identified with good potential. There are currently 55 stations installed to measure wind and some 8,631 wind towers by the end of 2008, up 14% from 2007 (Figure 3).
The government expects them to preform at near full capacity in 2008, resulting in about 11.5 MW of generation. The first wind farm is located in Isle of Turiguano with generation capacity 4.5 MW. There are now two other wind farms, in Gibara-Holguin with generation capacity 5.1 MW and in the Island of Youth with generation capacity 1.65 MW.
Isle of Turiguano as the Island's First Experimental of Wind Farm
Cuba’s first wind farm was built in 1999 on the island of Turiguano with a generation capacity of 4.5 MW (Figure 2 and 3). At Turiguano Island, there are plans to expand to 1000 kW – enough capacity to supply 40% of the island’s electricity needs and displace 430 tonnes of fuel oil per year. A recent survey at over 20 sites, primarily in coastal regions, concluded that there are excellent possibilities to develop wind power at these sites.
Hydropower plants are classified by their rated capacity into one of four regimes: micro (around 5 MW). Cuba’s current installed hydropower capacity amounts to nearly 30 MW, which in 1998 produced 23 GWh of electricity. These plants are generally used to service 200 small, isolated, rural villages with over 7 000 houses and 24 000 inhabitants. The plants also provide power to 503 social service institutions. There are also 6,6 MW under construction, capable of supplying an additional 38 GWh per year. Estimates of Cuba’s hydro potential that remains to be exploited range from 50 MW (210 GWh/year) to 400 MW (1 000 GWh/year).
Approximately three million m3 of fuelwood are consumed per year, mainly for cooking. To avoid resource depletion, Cuba is currently undergoing a reforestation program of 130,000 ha. There exist a variety of readily available sources in Cuba, including agricultural residues such as sugar cane bagasse, rice husks, and coffee residuals; tree/forest residuals such as sawdust and coconut shells; and various animal wastes.
Sugar Cane Biomass
Residuals from the sugar cane industry represent by far the most important source of current and potential biomass resources in Cuba. Cuba has been one of the world’s leading sugar producers since the 1800s. In addition to raw sugar, Cuban enterprises produce and utilize many valuable cane co-products for feed, food, energy and fiber. Sugar cane bagasse and sugar cane trash already provide a significant amount of biomass for electricity production in Cuba.
Cuba has 13 alcohol distilleries with capacity of 200–1200 litres/day that use cane molasses as feedstock, for a combined capacity of over 1,5 million hectoliters. Use of alcohol fuels, once common in Cuba in the 1940s and 1950s, all but disappeared with the availability of cheap oil. The current circumstances suggest that Cuba should consider expanding production for use as a transportation fuel, but this option has not yet been pursued.
Presently, Cuba uses a significant amount of kerosene, diesel, firewood and charcoal for cooking in many rural areas. Anaerobic digesters producing biogas (methane) offer a sustainable alternative fuel for cooking that is appropriate and economic in rural areas. In Cuba, there are currently over 200 installed biogas units, covering a wide range of scales appropriate to family, community, or industrial uses. The solid waste from biogas plants adds economic value by providing valuable fertilizers as by-products.
In Cuba, this technology has been applied in remote and mountainous areas to power audiovisual and other equipment in more than 2,300 primary schools, 400 doctor offices and more than 1,800 small TV/video facilities, among other things. Solar heaters made in China are sold in Cuban stores and widely used in public facilities.
Several homes in remote areas of Guantánamo and other regions of the country are powered by photovoltaic systems. Recently in Pinar del Río, more than 90 houses were outfitted with solar energy systems (Figure 5) as result of a cooperation process between the Total French oil company and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Recently, in Ciego de Ávila the electrification of a community of 30 houses and the construction of a pump station were completed, all using solar energy. The project was financed by the Autonomous Delegation of Bizkaia (Spain), the Ciro Redondo municipal government, the Cubasolar Company and the Sodepaz Spanish NGO.
The solar panels used in the project are partly produced by the Cuban Electronic Industry - 70% of all the solar panels were assembled in Pinar del Río, and 100% were installed by the Copextel company ran by the Ministry of Computer Science and Communications (MIC). Every square meter of the country receives an average amount of solar energy equivalent to 0.5 kilograms of oil or 5 kWh, throughout the year and almost without fluctuation.
This underdeveloped energy source is slowly making its way across the island: there are currently more than 6,000 photovoltaic panels and 1,500 solar heaters in use. The installed solar energy generating capacity in Cuba is around 3 megawatts, or 0.07% of the total installed capacity. And there are several projects underway to increase this percentage, although costs remain a serious obstacle.
Status of Renewable Energy Development
Cuba has solved its crippling energy shortages, with the help of wind power. While it still relies heavily on old fashioned and wasteful gas flare and diesel generators, the addition of wind generation has helped to eliminate the once daily energy shortages.
Cuba’s energy system is in the middle of a transition way from fossil fuels towards a more sustainable energy system based on biomass and other renewable options. Sugar cane is presently Cuba’s most valuable renewable energy resource, and bagasse co-generation offers significant opportunities for expansion in the near-term. Biogas plants also offer renewable options that are relatively inexpensive and well suited to rural areas. Hydropower has a more limited long-term potential compared to biomass options, but will continue to play a role in smaller-scale energy supply. There is also potential for expanding wind and solar applications in Cuba, particularly in coastal areas.
The government is currently conducting a study to find more wind farm sites, both onshore and off. They have also shown interest in other forms of renewable energy such as tidal, wave, biogas, and solar.
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