There Will be More Blackouts in Cuba Due to the ‘Considerable Damage’ of a Fire at the Felton Plant

Damage after the fire at the Felton thermoelectric plant. (Periódico Ahora)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 9 July 2022 — A large fire in unit two of the Lidio Ramón Pérez Thermoelectric Power Plant, in Felton, in the Holguin municipality of Mayarí, occurred this Friday afternoon with no reported loss of human life. The disaster aggravates the energy crisis that the Island is going through and augers new days of blackouts.

The local television station in the province of Holguín, Telecristal, reported that the incident was controlled by the workers, “with their own means,” and the Fire Department. The state press channel, with a source in Osmel Maturel Reyes, director of the thermoelectric plant, assured that “no deaths or injuries were reported in the accident area,” although it did mention “considerable damage” to the facility.

Maturel explained that, after two in the afternoon, “while the Block 2 turbine was running, as part of the tests prior to its complete start-up, a leak occurred in one of the boiler tubes, through which national crude oil circulated.” Although “the boiler was turned off, its high temperatures caused a fire that caused considerable damage” to the unit.

The radio station Radio Angulo, for its part, added that “the greatest impact” of the incident “is identified in the systems linked to the boiler.” Some videos of the fire circulated on social networks in which an intense gray smoke was seen that covered a large part of the plant.

“After putting out the fire, they have returned to Block 1 for its subsequent synchronization to the National Energy System,” added the Telecristal note.

The media also announced that “specialized expert teams are investigating the causes of the fire and its consequences,” and that the authorities of the Party and the provincial government “immediately went to the scene of the event.”

The fire took place the same day that the visit to the thermoelectric plant by Esteban Lazo Hernández, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, was reported as part of the tour he was taking until this Friday in Holguín, according to the Cuban News Agency (ACN).

In the note it is reported that Maturel Reyes had informed Lazo that unit two “is already in the phase of the first running of the turbine, with a view to its synchronization to the National Electric System in the coming days.”

This block of the plant had been undergoing maintenance for several months and at the end of June it was reported that they were carrying out “individual tests on the boiler systems, as well as hermeticity tests to correct any defects that may exist in all the aggregates and auxiliary equipment.”

The ACN also indicated that work was being done on “the final alignment of the turbine with the generator, on cleaning the oil systems, with the aim of putting the machine in spinner mode to carry out the final tests, approximately, on 28 of June”.

However, according to the Twitter account of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, there has been “important damage that will require a partial reconstruction of the boiler,” and whose effects on the island’s precarious energy outlook will be felt.

The Lidio Ramón Pérez Thermoelectric Power Plant, inaugurated on January 5, 2011, had been described by the official press as “the one with the largest installed capacity in the country.”


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