The ties that bind Cuba and Russia together have been strengthened by the granting of credit worth up to 1 billion, 2 hundred million euros, to finance a project to amplify electricity generation through the incorporation of 800 megawatts into the electrical energy system in Cuba between 2022 and 2024.
At the end of October last year, the two governments signed four important documents setting out terms and conditions for the eight year long execution of the project.
In an exclusive interview with The Havana Reporter, Edier Guzmán, Union Electrica’s (UNE) Director for Thermal Power Plant Development, said that the proposal would be made possible by an agreement between the Cuban and Russian governments to construct four new generators to increase capacity, and meet the demands of both the state and domestic sectors.
In this regard, Guzman explained that a contract signed by the Russian Inter RAO Export company and Cuba’s UNE owned Energoimport company, which will come into effect next April, is presently in a preparatory phase and is in line to be concluded as planned and on schedule.
This will be followed by the selection of the entity that will design the plans and the subsequent commencement of basic engineering works.
Although it is stipulated that Cuban entities will do the actual construction because the state credit requires that most equipment be purchased from Russian firms, this phase will involve a 290-day bidding process that will lead to the selection of equipment and suppliers.
The accord covers the construction of four 200 megawatt generation units; one in the Máximo Gómez refinery at Mariel and three in East Havana, all in the western part of the island where demand is highest and especially at peak times when electricity transfers are required from the east of the island.
The contract is for the extension of the four aforementioned refineries which will use crude Cuban fuel.
The project will involve almost all ministries ranging from the basic engineering stage and the financial economic and environmental agreements to the construction and the initiation stages, which Guzman said is an experience that should be exploited to strengthen those involved in its execution.
He added that the fuel saved by these new generating plants would cover the cost of the credit and interest, something supported by financial feasibility studies undertaken by a prestigious international company to the satisfaction of Cuban and Russian specialists and authorities.
He emphasized that this meant that the success of the project lay in its compliance with agreed schedules and established technological efficiency parameters to ensure that the fuel saved can be exported for sale and the proceeds lodged in an account to cover the cost of the credit granted.
The funding given envisages the formation and training of Cuban personnel involved in the construction, mounting, operation and maintenance of the plants.
In relation to block termination dates, the UNE executive stated that two should be ready by 2023 and two by 2024, the last of which should be the Máximo Gómez thermal electric plant at Mariel.
He stressed that this was a state investment rather than a foreign one that was in a preliminary phase prior to the execution in which contracted foreign companies could participate.
According to the expert, the project does not contradict national programs for the use of renewable energy and for a gradual shift of the electricity supply matrix away from its dependence on fossil fuels.
He clarified that the policy needed to be complimented because the use of fossil fuel generated electricity could not be fully eliminated.Share on FB Share on TT