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Cuban government warns about electricity demand increase

Havana, May 24 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban Ministry of Energy and Mines warned about the increase in electricity demand in the national territory, which to date exceeds the estimated figure for 2024.

“Electricity consumption has increased a lot. For example, last Mother’s Day there was 20 percent more demand than on the same day in 2023,” revealed Alfredo López, director of the Electrical Union (UNE).

According to López, the forecast for the demand in 2024 was 3.5 percent higher than last year. “We have already exceeded that estimate,” he stressed and commented that this is due to the combination of “high temperatures with other phenomena,” such as fuel deficit, unforeseen breakdowns, and maintenance at several thermoelectric plants, which affect the distribution of electrical energy.

The official pointed out that current conditions differ from those of 2018, among other reasons, because Cuba “had 500 megawatts of reserve and stable fuel security. Now it is totally different. We have not applied capital maintenance to the generating units since 2018,” he stated.

“In Cuba there are 16 generating units, Felton II has a permanent breakdown, and 13 of the remaining 15 are outside the maintenance system, still the distributed generation is not 100% either. (…) In recent months some units have received maintenance, but it is still not enough, and the electricity transmission networks also have difficulties,” he stressed.

For the UNE director, it cannot be assumed that in July and August, there will be a demand similar to that of the recent Mother’s Day, but it will not be 3.5, it could be higher. He estimates that they will be able to count on 1,200 megawatts, on average, in thermal generation and more than 300 in Energás, during July and August, “however, it is impossible to avoid blackouts in those months,” he emphasized.

López also explained that there are two large solar energy projects, one of 1,006 megawatts, to be executed between this year and 2025, and another of 1,000 mW, whose installation will last seven years. Based on his statements, the two projects require the support of the base energy of the electro-energy system”, that is, the thermoelectric plants, and it is necessary that they “receive capital maintenance in the coming years. (…)

He added that we are going through a very serious situation, but with all the repairs in several units, the midterm trend should be to improve and predicted, and urged to consume only the necessary electricity.

In energy savings in the private sector, and especially in state companies and institutions, Cuba has a very important resource to help alleviate demand, the functionary stated.

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