November 10, 2014

Cuba Aims for 24 Percent Renewable Energy by 2030

Cuba is aspiring to obtain 24 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and to that end has unveiled an initial set of projects requiring a combined investment outlay of more than $600 million.

The island currently generates just 4.3 percent of its electricity from renewable sources but it plans to allocate more than $3.5 billion to develop that sector over the next 15 years, Communist Party daily Granma reported Friday.

Meeting that target by 2030 would mean $780 million in savings annually for the Caribbean country on imports of fossil fuels, the source of 96 percent of the nation's electricity.

Achieving greater balance in the island's energy matrix is a top economic priority of President Raul Castro's administration, which in June approved a policy aimed at developing renewables and opening that sector up to foreign investment.

During this week's 32nd Havana International Fair, the government unveiled proposals for foreign investment projects to create, expand and modernize the island's renewable energy capacity.

That portfolio includes wind farm and bioelectric power station projects to be built by mixed-capital or entirely private companies.

Those initial projects will require combined investment outlays exceeding $600 million.

Cuba's strategy is to maximize its water, solar, wind, bagasse and forest biomass resources.

The government also has plans in place to install some 133,000 solar heaters in homes and other buildings by 2030, Granma reported, citing the Energy and Mines Ministry.

The Caribbean island produces 4 million tons of crude and natural gas annually, mostly for electricity generation, although power from locally extracted hydrocarbons only covers 50 percent of domestic consumption.

Cuba also is exploring for oil in its portion of the Gulf of Mexico, although the drilling campaign has been unsuccessful thus far.

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