The recent Energy and Infrastructure Summit in Havana took a sweeping look at the Cuban agenda for its transformation to renewable energy by 2030. Cuban ministries and businesses showcased a wide range of renewable energy projects for which they seek foreign investment. A high dependency on imported fossil fuels, both economically and strategically, presents a great problem for Cuba. To meet Cuba’s renewables’ mandate, a host of renewable energy sectors presented projects which are open to foreign investment.
Delice Moreno García, the director of the National Electricity Engineering and Project Company (INEL) presented both Cuba’s wind energy profile and opportunities to a captive audience from 11 different countries.
Previous wind measurement studies identified project locations situated in the eastern part of the country where the winds are the strongest. At the present time, Cuba has four wind farms in operation with a total capacity of 11.7 MW.
Cuba is currently producing only 4.3% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources. By the year 2030, the Island plans to power 24% of its electricity from renewable sources. This presents a tremendous opportunity for the clean energy electrical power industry and investors.
In 2015, the Ministry of Energy and Mines announced plans for 13 wind farm projects to increase the capacity to more than 2,000 MW. The prospective locations to harness the wind include:
- Turiguanó 51 MW
- Jigúey-1 51 MW
- Nueves Grandes, 51 MW
- Herradura-1, 52 MW
- Herradura-2, 52 MW
- Gibara 3, 51 MW
- Rio Seco, 51 MW
- Cabo Lucrecia, 51 MW
- Puntas de Mulas, 51 MW
- Punta Quemado-1, 51 MW
- Punta Quemado-2, 36 MW
- Punta Fraile-1, 52 MW
- Punta Fraile-2 36 MW.
Chinese, Canadian, Spanish and other European countries have either expressed serious interest, are in negotiations, or implementing the projects in Cuba.
According to the publication PanamericanWorld, seven wind farms are being implemented by the Spanish company Gamesa. Gamesa (which has a global presence) will supply advanced technology for the wind farms according to Sales Director, Manuel Garmendia. These wind farms will be delivering 750 megawatts to the existing infrastructure.
Jim Bardia of Change Wind Corporation, a U.S. company that manufactures wind and solar-driven power stations (turbines) attended the Energy Infrastructure Summit. He said he thought the Cubans had done a spectacular job as witnessed by the amount of time and detail seen in their presentations. He said it was well thought out and brilliant of the Cubans to produce a commodity product for future growth industry needs. The Cubans, he said, realize the opportunity that will follow and have had the foresight to position themselves for the upcoming growth industries that will require more energy.
Does Cuba look like an attractive place to invest? From Mr. Bardia’s perspective of the renewable energy industry, any place with wind and sunlight – as Cuba has plenty of – qualifies for investment.
Foreign investment opportunities in the construction or operation of wind farms will participate with Union Electrica (UNE). UNE will purchase the energy delivered to the national electric system by way of power purchase contracts.