Completion Ceremony for The Project for the Improvement of Power Supply in the Isle of Youth

Completion Ceremony for The Project for the Improvement of Power Supply in the Isle of Youth
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27 May 2024
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On April 26, the completion ceremony for The Project for the Improvement of Power Supply in the Isle of Youth, a grant aid project, was held at the Unión Eléctrica de Cuba (UNE) power plant on the Isle of Youth, the largest island in the Republic of Cuba after the mainland.

The ceremony was attended by approximately 200 government and business officials, including Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz, Minister of Energy and Mining Vicente de la O Levy, UNE General Director Alfredo López Valdés, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Cuba Hirata Kenji, and Director of the JICA Cuba Office Ashida Tatsuya.

Prime Minister Marrero

Prime Minister Marrero

UNE General Director López Valdés

UNE General Director López Valdés

Completion ceremony at the Unión Eléctrica de Cuba (UNE) power plant. Minister of Energy and Mining De la O Levy (far right) and Ambassador Hirata (second from right) shake hands during the ceremony

Completion ceremony at the Unión Eléctrica de Cuba (UNE) power plant. Minister of Energy and Mining De la O Levy (far right) and Ambassador Hirata (second from right) shake hands during the ceremony

Cuba faces challenges such as reducing imports of petroleum fuels needed for thermal power generation, which accounts for more than 80% of its electricity, as well as improving power generation efficiency and supply reliability, which have declined due to the aging of thermal power plants. The country has therefore set a goal of increasing the share of renewable energy in domestic power generation by 2030. The project’s target area, the Isle of Youth, is the largest island in Cuba after the mainland, with approximately 80,000 inhabitants, and is supplied with electricity through an independent power grid. The Cuban government aims to increase the percentage of renewable energy on the island from the current 5% to 30%, higher than the national target, by 2030.

However, energy from solar and wind depends greatly on weather conditions, and fluctuations can potentially disrupt the supply-demand balance of electricity, leading to instability in grid frequency, equipment malfunctions, power outages, and other problems. Acquiring a 30% renewable energy ratio requires a power grid stabilization system to ensure steady supply.

Map of the cooperation area

Map of the cooperation area

 Ribbon-cutting ceremony (from left: UNE General Director López Valdés, Ambassador Hirata, and Prime Minister Marrero)

Ribbon-cutting ceremony (from left: UNE General Director López Valdés, Ambassador Hirata, and Prime Minister Marrero)

Prime Minister Marrero and Ambassador Hirata view the commemorative nameplate

Prime Minister Marrero and Ambassador Hirata view the commemorative nameplate

Given these circumstances, the project was implemented with the aim of maintaining a stable supply of electricity and combating climate change on the Isle of Youth by installing necessary equipment and devices, such as storage batteries, power reception and transformation facilities, and control equipment. These efforts are expected to increase the share of renewable energy in the island’s total power generation from 5% to 18%, thereby contributing to the stabilization of Cuba’s power supply.

Battery energy storage system maintained by the project

Battery energy storage system maintained by the project

 

At the completion ceremony, Prime Minister Marrero said, “The implementation of this project is of great importance, given the complex economic situation that is tightening supply and demand of electricity across our country. I would like to thank the Japanese government and JICA for their financial and technical support.”

Ambassador Hirata remarked, “Cuba is not alone. It has many friends around the world, including Japan. In recent years, bilateral cooperation between Japan and Cuba has expanded and diversified. Our country is always ready to support the development of the Cuban people.”

JICA will continue to promote cooperation in Cuba’s energy sector, including the introduction of renewable energy.

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