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Biopower SA Begins Construction

Biopower S.A. Master Plan for Ciro Redondo Sugar Mill. Image: Havana Energy

Construction will begin in the next few weeks at the Ciro Redondo Sugar Mill in Ciego de Avila province.  It is the largest Cuban bio-electric project with foreign investment for clean energy production.  When completed, the plant will contribute 62 megawatt hours to the nation’s electricity grid.

After the recent ground-breaking ceremony in late April attended by Chinese, Cuban and British ambassadors, joint venture firm Biopower S.A. is currently expanding data from the topographic study and will begin ground movement in the next few weeks. Plant operations are expected to begin in December of 2019.

Biopower S.A. is a joint venture company formed in  2011 between Cuba’s Zerus S.A., a subsidiary of AZCUBA and the British renewable energy firm Havana Energy Ltd.  Havana Energy, led by CEO Andrew MacDonald, has been focused on the Cuban Energy sector for more than a decade.  The venture will be using Chinese technology from China’s Shanghai Electric Co.  This is the first project for renewable energy production in the area and will result in the employment of 60 workers working over several shifts.

Chinese, British and Cuban investors are involved in the Ciro Redondo project.  Representatives of the investor countries were present at the ground-breaking ceremony in late April.  From China,  Ambassador Chen Xi, executive deputy head of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China and British Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba Anthony Stokes attended the commencement ceremony.

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At the ceremony, Chen said he was pleased that Chinese companies are now in Cuba’s economic development, strengthening the ties between Havana and Beijing.

He also pointed out, “This project will be a success because in addition to offering new jobs to the residents of the community, it will also preserve the environment by offering clean and efficient energy.”

British Ambassador Stokes noted that the project will provide jobs for people in the surrounding community.  He also said, “It is an important day for economic relations between our countries, which will help build a more sustainable and ecological future.”

Director of Electricity Generation at AZCUBA and head of the Government Group of Renewable Sources of Energy, Bárbara Hernández Martínez  said the joint venture project is part of the program of developing 22 bioelectric plants throughout Cuba with the goal to contribute 755 megawatts to the electrical grid.

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Francisco Lleó Martín, General Director at Zerus S.A. said, “This will be the first plant in Cuba to generate energy through the use of the sugarcane leftovers generated in the Ciro Redondo plant:”

More than $186 million investment is expected for the upgrading of the Ciro Redondo plant.  The plant will improve the quality and supply of electricity and steam, using bagasse, a sugar cane byproduct, for use as a biofuel source.  The surplus will be transferred to the energy grid.  It will also process marabu, an abundant biomass resource (an invasive shrub in Cuba) to generate electricity production.

The Ciro Redondo project is in line with the Cuban green energy strategy to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and oil imports by 2030.  It will result in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the environment.

Cuba held its first renewable energy conference last year with the goal to open up its renewable energy projects to foreign investors.  The latest renewable energy conference just wrapped up in Havana.

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