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Warnings about the increase in electricity demand in Cuba

Cuba’s Ministry of Energy and Mines warned about the increase in electricity demand in the national territory, which to date exceeds the estimated figure for 2024.

It has increased a lot. For example, last Mother’s Day there was 20 percent more demand than on the same day in 2023, revealed Alfredo López, director of Unión Eléctrica (UNE), a company under that administration.

As he explained in Desde la presidencia, a Youtube programme hosted by Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel, the demand forecast for 2024 was 3.5 per cent higher than last year.

We have already exceeded that estimate, he said, and commented that this is due to the combination of «high temperatures and other phenomena».

Fuel shortages, unforeseen breakdowns and maintenance processes at several thermoelectric power plants are affecting the national distribution of electricity.

The official pointed out that current conditions differ from those of 2018, among other reasons because Cuba «came to have 500 megawatts of reserve and stable fuel security».

Now it is totally different. Since 2018 we have not applied capital maintenance to the generating units, he said.

In Cuba, he said, «there are 16 generating units, Felton II has a permanent breakdown and of the remaining 15, 13 are out of the maintenance system, and the distributed generation is also not at one hundred percent».

Some units have been maintained in recent months, but it is still not enough, and the electricity transmission networks are also having difficulties, he said.

For the UNE director, «it cannot be assumed that in July and August there will be a demand similar to that of the recent Mother’s Day, but it will not be 3.5 per cent either, it may be higher».

We estimate that we will be able to count on 1,200 megawatts, on average, in thermal generation and more than 300 in energy, during July and August, he warned.

However, it is not possible to avoid blackouts during those months, he said.

He also explained that there are two large solar energy projects, one of 1006 megawatts to be executed between this year and 2025, and another of 1,000 megawatts, which will take seven years to install.

According to López, «the two projects require the accompaniment of the base energy of the electro-energy system», that is, the thermoelectric plants, and it is necessary that «they receive capital maintenance in the coming years».

We are going through a very serious situation, but with all the repair actions in several units, in the medium term the tendency should be to improve, he predicted, and urged to consume only the necessary electricity.

In the private sector and especially in companies and state institutions, Cuba has a very important resource to help alleviate demand, he said.

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