The Electric Union Admits that Cuba Could Need 10 Billion Dollars for Its Power Plants

Lázaro Guerra, during his interview with EFE /EFE

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Ernesto Mastrascusa, Havana, 4 April 2024 —   The technical director of the Electric Union of Cuba (UNE), Lázaro Guerra, recognizes that the country would need about 10 billion dollars to repair its thermoelectric plants. The figure, estimated by independent specialists residing in the United States, such as Jorge Piñón and Emilio Morales, “is not crazy,” the official said, without giving further details, in an interview with the Spanish agency EFE published on Thursday.

To reach summer with a “positive” level of generation, Guerra explained, the UNE has planned “quite thorough” maintenance on two of its seven obsolete plants.

Otherwise, nothing new was offered by the official, but the pessimistic outlook is clear, since the country does not have the resources to renew the thermoelectric plants, and there are no foreign investors interested in this sector: “The crisis is not over.”

Reiterating what Vicente de la O Levy, Minister of Energy and Mines, said on March 16, just a day before the recent mass protests on the Island, the director of the UNE said that the main reason for the power cuts is the lack of oil. “The serious problem that has marked the effects of the service has fundamentally been the fuel,” he told EFE.

“Performing capital maintenance on the thermoelectric plants takes money, and evidently the country has not been able to provide it”

He also said that the crisis is due to “a continuing combination” of lack of foreign exchange and logistical problems. “Cuba has an obvious financial problem” due to its “economic situation.”

About the arrival of fuel, such as the 684,000 barrels of crude oil (90,000 tons) that arrived in Matanzas on the NS Concord from Russia last week and the 460,000 barrels that are about to arrive from the same country on board the Nordic, Guerra stated that “fuel assurance is outside the competency of the UNE” and is up to the oil company Cupet, and he added that he “does not know the plan for the arrival of oil tankers in the coming months.”

According to the information provided by Jorge Piñón to this newspaper, based on the monitoring of ships, the NS Concord has already finished unloading and left the bay of Matanzas. To transport the barrels to Havana, tanker trucks will be needed. It will take five to ten days to reach the Regla refinery, process the crude oil and distribute it, as well as supplying the two patanas (Turkish floating power plants) in Havana and other power plants,” says Piñón.

As 14ymedio verified on Thursday, the Regla refinery is shut down for the time being.

In his interview with EFE, Lázaro Guerra insisted that the Government’s strategy to achieve “energy independence” includes “national crude oil, the accompanying gas and renewables,” with a prominent role for solar energy. However, he added: “Performing capital maintenance on thermoelectric plants takes money, and evidently the country has not been able to provide it.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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