Cuba Mends Power Plant, Grid Stability Improves
04 Feb 2022 by argusmedia.com
Cuba has started work to bring its biggest power plant up to full capacity, but the project is hobbled by the government's inability to readily obtain spare parts and to keep to a maintenance schedule.
Long and frequent power cuts that have plagued the island over the past two years are easing because of an increase in fuel imports for power plants, volumes of which state power company UNE has declined to quantify.
The upgrading of the oil-fired 300MW Antonio Guiteras facility located 87km west of Havana will bring more stability to the power grid, plant manager Roman Perez said.
At full capacity, the plant provides 15pc of the power generated by the island's plants, and its output had fallen to between 200MW and 220MW in recent months,
But the upgrade to the plant awaits "important spare parts such as valves and refractory materials and equipment for transformers," Perez said.
The government says it has been unable to easily obtain spare parts for power plants because of US economic sanctions levied against Havana.
The sanctions have also caused feedstock shortages. Cuba mostly produces high-sulphur heavy crude that is burned in Soviet-era thermal power plants. More modern plants burn imported fuel oil and diesel, mainly from Venezuela, but those imports have been inconsistent.
But there have been signs of increased stability in the island's fuel sector, a Caribbean diplomat in Cuba told Argus yesterday.
Power outages are fewer and shorter, and products such as gasoline, diesel and LPG are more easily available, the diplomat said.
Cuba's 2021 crude output reached 43,908 b/d, 6pc less than in 2020, the government said. According to official data, Cuba's oil demand is around 160,000 b/d.
The island's power plants have 5.87GW of installed generating capacity, of which 3.2GW is operational, according to UNE. Power generation by the plants last week was 2.1GW.
The island's power system has been helped by the installation in November 2021 of a fourth thermal power barge by Turkish contractor Karpowership. The 130MW facility brings the island's barge-based capacity to 330MW