Cuba to build biomass power plant


A Chinese-designed biomass power plant fueled with byproducts of sugar production is planned go up in Matanzas province, according to official news agency Prensa Latina.


The $60 million project, to be built with Chinese technology and technical support, would be the second biomass power plant on the island. In November, a British company announced a $45 million project at a sugar mill in Ciego de Ávila province. The government reportedly has plans to build five biomass power plants throughout the island.


The biomass projects are part of a government plan to increase the use of renewable energy to 16.5 percent of its energy mix within eight years. Some 3.8 percent of Cuba’s electricity is currently made with renewable sources, most of it bagasse at sugar mills. The Azcuba group and the National Electricity Board designed a strategy to increase power generation in sugar mills, in order to decentralize the grid and provide electricity in areas with weak supply.


Construction of the Chinese-designed power plant at a sugar refinery in Matanzas will begin at the end of this year. The 20-mw plant will initially use bagasse, a sugarcane residue, but it will eventually be able to use wood residues as well.

DP CleanTech high-pressure boiler

DP CleanTech high-pressure boiler

Official sources did not reveal details of the agreement. China’s largest biomass power plant operator is National Bio Energy Co. Ltd. (NBE), which adopted European technology developed by DP CleanTech. NBE has become the world’s largest biomass power plant operator, building more than 30 mixed-fuel biomass plants in China, for a total of 1,000 mw.


In what was one of the biggest foreign investments in Cuba last year, Havana Energy Ltd. announced in November the Cuban government approved a joint venture to build a 30-mw biomass plant at the Ciro Redondo sugar mill in Ciego de Ávila province. Havana Energy plans to start operations in 2015. Havana Energy, a subsidiary of Esencia Group, formed a joint venture with Zerus SA, which belongs to state holding Azcuba.


As part of its renewable-energy plans, Cuba is building a 2.5-mw solar farm with 10,800 solar collectors on five hectares of land in the city of Guantánamo; that project is expected to be completed by December. Cuba also plans to build a 50-mw expansion of a wind farm on the northeastern coast, near Gibara, as part of a plan to add eight wind parks for a total of up 2,080 mw by the year 2020. Finally, the government plans to increase hydropower from a total capacity of 60 mw to 100 mw, by building 160 micro-hydropower plants.


Source: Cuba Standard