The Cuban state is interested in rapidly promoting the assimilation and expansion of electricity generated through making the most of wind strength, confirmed Manuel Menéndez Castellanos, head of the Wind Power Development Group on the island.
During the 5th International Conference of Renewable Energy that took place in Havana, Castellanos mentioned that feasibility studies are being completed to allow the country to aim for superior levels in terms of the installation of wind-driven generators (turbines) in the future.
According to him, by mid-2008, Cuba will be able to rely on a modest generating power in the region of 11.7 MegaWatt (MW) of electricity thanks to the use of wind power. This will be jointly supported by three small test parks and a demonstration example on the Isle of TuriguanÃ³, to the north of Ciego de Avila province, which has been functioning since April 1999.
Park on the Isle of Youth has saved 130 tons of fuel
The official informed the conference that since last February 24, a wind power park has been up and running on the Isle of Youth, to the south of Cuba, one of three being contracted and developed under the slogan “Learning by Doing”, has already saved 130 tons of fuel to date.
This park is generating 1.65MW, providing a little over 2.6% of the electricity demand of this special municipality, a territory that is not connected to the National Electrical Energy System and that used to be entirely dependent on fossil fuels.
Its six 275 KiloWatt (kW) wind-driven generators can be dismantled in less than an hour, representing a very attractive alternative for regions frequently threatened by hurricanes, such as western Cuba and other island nations in the Caribbean.
French company could transfer technology for construction of towers
Laurent Vergnet, industrial director of the French company VERGNET, supplier of wind-driven generators, told GI that there is a strong possibility that 275- and 1,000-kW turbines will be installed in western Cuba in the near future.
Another of the contracted parks is being constructed in the city of Gibara, on the northern coast of the eastern province of HolguÃn. Its six 850kW units, built with Spanish technology, are 50 meters in height, and should be able to provide 5.1 MW of electricity.
According to MenÃ©ndez Castellanos, this project will be a point of departure for the foreseeable widespread usage of wind power in this region, where they are expecting to develop another test park at the beginning of next year ““ with a 4.5MW capacity ““ using Chinese technology.
82 wind research stations installed
He stated that there are currently 82 wind research stations in the country, established to identify and characterize possible sites for the exploitation of this kind of energy by placing sensors up to 50m in height. There are also 11 meteorological reference stations for forecasting measurements up to 100m. At the end of 2005, the state made the decision to acquire 88 of the former and 12 of the latter to cover 32 areas throughout the country.
More than 20 of the research stations have been collating data for over a year, and they are now producing promising results with respect to the potential of this form of energy in regions on the northern coast from CamagÃ¼ey to GuantÃ¡namo, he specified.
This data, together with that provided by the 68 stations attached to the National Meteorological Network, will allow them, within a short period, to provide an in-depth characterization of the potential for this resource in many parts of the national territory.
In relation to the training of staff to undertake this important task, he highlighted the fact that professionals with varied experience have now visited wind installations and research and development centers in Europe, India, China and Mexico, while officials and scientists have taken part in important international events in Germany, Australia, India and China.
In France and Guadalupe, he added, several technicians underwent training in order to be able to develop the wind park currently in operation on the Isle of Youth.
Training agreement with India
He also reported that a group of 15 specialists representing various Cuban institutions will soon travel to India for training.
Cuba and this Asian nation recently signed in Havana a long-term cooperation agreement that will allow Cuban to take part in courses on renewable energy: photovoltaic, solar, wind power, biomass and small scale hydro-electrics.
Vilas Baburao Muttemvar, the Indian minister for new energies and renewable energy, who signed the document, said during his speech at the event that he felt extremely satisfied with the visit, during which he was able to learn about the studies taking place into the potential of this energy resource in Cuba, which stands at 14,000 MW.
30 May 2007
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