Wind energy leader lauds Cuba’s storm know-how


Two wind parks near Gibara in eastern Holguín province are so well-built they made it through a direct hit by Hurricane Sandy without sustaining damage.


“We congratulate our Cuban colleagues for mastering an extreme challenge for wind farms in such a manner,” said World Wind Energy Association President He Dexin during a recent WWEA conference in Cuba. He Dexin, a native of China, added that this kind of know-how is of great interest not only in the Caribbean, but also in East Asian markets where typhoons can wreak havoc on wind generators.


“International cooperation and transfer of experiences will help us all to learn from each other,” He Dexin said, adding that renewable energies are particularly important for regions recovering from natural disasters.


The two wind parks in Holguín are Gibara I (5.1 mw, six Spanish-made 850 kw turbines installed in 2008) and Gibara II (4.5 mw, six Chinese-made 750 kW machines installed in 2010). Both wind farms took a direct hit by hurricane Sandy with wind speeds of up to 110 miles per hour. After first inspections, the Cuban government announced at the conference that none of the two wind farms has shown any major damage caused by the hurricane, and that they still provide electricity for the local grid.


“Cuba installed the two wind farms …, being aware that they may be hit by a hurricane,” said Conrado Moreno, professor at the Cuban Center for Renewable Energy Technologies (CETER). “Hence our experts have taken all necessary provisions to make them hurricane-proof. Hurricane Sandy has now clearly demonstrated that wind farms in Cuba are safe and reliable, even under extreme conditions.”


Moreno also highlighted the decentralized structure of the Cuban power supply system, which minimized the overall damage to the power system. “Of course we want to share our experience with the world wind community.”


The hurricane know-how at Gibara didn’t come easily. In 2008, a series of hurricanes wreaked havoc on Cuba’s fledgling wind power program. The Los Canarreos wind farm, built in 2005 on the Isla de Juventud by France’s Vergnet SA, suffered extensive damage, even though the turbines were designed to be dismounted when storms approach. Also, the control unit of the Gibara I wind park was destroyed in the 2008 hurricane season.


In the meantime, an undersecretary in the German Development Aid Ministry challenged his and the Cuban government during the WWEA conference — June 3-5 in Havana — to improve cooperation.


“Come on and look at areas of joint interest,” said Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz in an interview with the ARD network, according to Website “For example, in climate protection we could do together more. With that, we could end one era and, after 10 years without official development cooperation, begin another one.”


The WWEA conference, June 3-5 in Havana, drew 560 participants from 42 countries, from wind and all other renewable energy technologies. The conference covered wind utilization, related policies, manufacturing, development, operation as well as economic and social issues, with a special focus on how to accelerate deployment of wind power in the Caribbean region.


Source: Cuba Standard