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Cuba seeks to expand role of renewable energy

Staff Writer |
The government of Cuba and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) are holding a workshop on approaches to operating and planning electricity systems with higher shares of variable renewable energy in the island nation of Cuba.

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The three-day workshop is the first of its kind in the country and will facilitate the exchange of knowledge between Cuban technical experts and international planners and operators.

They will identify key issues and challenges which need to be addressed in order to reliably operate Cuba’s electricity grid, including the management of high shares of renewable energy.

Speaking at the event, Cuban Minister of Energy and Mines, Alfredo López Valdés said, "Today in Havana, the purpose of starting an exchange with IRENA becomes real.

"This exchange will not conclude with this event and we are sure that it will consolidate the traditional friendship between IRENA and the Cuban institutions.

"The political will of our government to keep the fight against climate change: a struggle that is a moral obligation and an essential opportunity for a sustainable development. This is reflected in the national policy approved in June 2014 for the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency."

Cuba has a total generating capacity of almost 6 gigawatts (GW), currently 4 per cent of total electricity production is renewable. Renewable energy sources, such as wind (up to 2 GW) and solar power (up to 14 GW), have vast potential to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in the power sector.

The Cuban Government aims to boost renewable energy investment by USD 3.5 billion in order to reach its goal of generating 24 per cent of its power from renewable energy by 2030.

This investment seeks to add approximately 700 megawatts each of onshore wind, solar photovoltaic and biomass power generation, reaching a total of around 2.1 GW of new renewable energy capacity.

"Cuba has excellent technical potential for renewable energy to meet its ambitious government targets, particularly for solar, wind and biofuel," said Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre.

"By pursuing ambitious strategies on renewable energy that focus on integrating high shares of variable renewables, Cuba can improve the security, reliability and sustainability of its energy systems."


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