Cuba exports Energy Revolution

Providing another example how Cuba is becoming an export platform for the ALBA bloc and beyond, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said that Cuba had supplied his country with 43 mini power plants over the past two years and is in the process of bringing in some 30 more, helping the South American country plug gaps in electricity production caused by a drought.

During his Aló Presidente TV show, Chávez officially opened a $9 million, 15-mw electric plant on Margarita Island.

“This is plant No. 43 we have installed,” the president said during the opening ceremony of the 8-generator battery, adding that over the next two months, Venezuela plans to open one new power plant every other day.

In December, the Venezuelan electric energy ministry and Corpoelec signed an agreement over training of Venezuelan technicians by Cuba.

Cuba has bought hundreds of generators since 2006 from manufacturers such as Guascor, Hyundai, MAN B&W, and MTU as part of its “Energy Revolution,” and plans to install at least another seven fuel-oil generator clusters on the island this year. 

The country is now propagating its distributed power generation concept as a model for fellow ALBA member countries and other developing nations. According to official news agency AIN, Cuba already provided seven mini power plants to Nicaragua, which has begun to export electricity thanks to a Cuban-inspired decentralized power generation program, and one 60-mw power plant to Haiti. Likewise, Cuban electric engineering teams are working in Ecuador and Equatorial Guinea in Africa.

Official sources didn’t say where the generators for Venezuela were bought, and who paid for them. But the eight generators installed on Margarita Island are made by MTU; some 300 BR4000 container generators made by MTU — a type Cuba has bought for use on the island — have been installed in Venezuela. One industry observer speculated that Cuba simply resold some of the hundreds of generators it bought a couple years back.

The projects in Venezuela are handled by Alba Bolivariana, a Cuban-Venezuelan joint venture. Venezuela has funded most of the ALBA energy programs.

Meanwhile, Cuba for the first time produced all additional metal structures of a generator set, official media announced. All tanks, boilers, chimneys, and other metal parts at the new Ariguanabo power plant near Havana were supplied by the Unidad Empresarial de Base Este Habana, and the generator cluster was set up by Empresa de Mantenimiento a Centrales Eléctricas (EMCE).

Cuba has also provided Venezuela, Jamaica, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and Antigua & Barbuda with millions of Chinese-made energy-saving light bulbs.

Venezuela is generating 70 percent of its electricity with hydro power. Low water levels in reservoirs has forced the government into rolling blackouts.

Referring to opposition accusations of giving away energy to Cuba in times of need, Chávez said that “the thing is backwards. The Cubans have spent two years helping us in the Energy Revolution.”

For recent news, see:

Reuters on Venezuelan opposition

You May Also Like