From NY-Transfer-News@abbie.blythe.org Fri May 26 06:44:32 2000
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 22:37:42 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Breakthrough" - Cuba's Energy Efficiency Program
Cuba's Energy Efficiency Program
By Arnie Coro, RHC's Science Editor, edited by NY Transfer News,
resend -Tue, 18 Apr 2000 02:11:01 -0400
Originally broadcast Sunday, 19-Sep-99
Hello amigos, and welcome to "Breakthrough," Radio Havana Cuba's science,
technology and environment update... I am Arnie Coro, RHC's Science Editor,
and today it is my pleasure to bring you an update on Cuba's energy
Cuban media recently highlighted Engineer Marcos Portal's statement in
Camaguey province telling reporters that the country is now generating
exactly 50 percent of its electricity using crude oil extracted from oil
fields in Cuba. Minister Portal, a chemical engineer himself, told
journalists that each ton of domestically produced oil was costing about
one-third the price Cuba has to pay for imported oil.
He described how natural gas is also now playing a role in fueling power
plants, not only at the ultra-modern ENERGAS project in Varadero, but also
at a recently converted power station located in Santa Cruz del Norte, about
thirty miles east of Havana. That power plant has three Soviet-designed and
built 100-megawatt generators that originally burned high-quality fuel oil.
Now the unit's boilers are using natural gas from a nearby oil field,
something that has two important advantages: One, of course, is the fact
that electricity-generating costs go down signficantly with the local fuel,
and the other is that by burning processed natural gas, the plant now
generates much less pollution from its huge 180-meter-high smokestack -- one
of the tallest in the Caribbean -- which was especifically designed to
reduce local thermal air pollution.
Cuban oil fields produce two very different qualities of the black gold at
this moment. The western part of the island is the backbone of domestic oil
production, but the oil extracted is of a very high density and has a high
level of sulphur and other contaminants. Meanwhile in central Cuba, oil
fields are yielding a much lighter and sulphur-free oil that is used by CUBA
PETROLEO, the country's national oil company, for producing lubricants,
something that also saves Cuba a lot of foreign currency.
But let's go back to the important statement by Basic Industry Minister
Marcos Portal in Camaguey... He also told the press that the plan for
continuous upgrades of Cuba's largest electrical generators is now going
very well. One hundred-megawatt generators in the Santiago de Cuba "Rente"
power plant are now on line, after a major overhaul that included signficant
upgrades in the steam generators, control systems and other parts of the
The highlight of this upgrading process is that now the same basic machine,
the turbo-generator, is producing each kilowatt hour of electricity using
much less fuel oil. In other words, the machine -- after decades of service
and admittedly not always given the best possible maintenance as recommended--is
not only back to "as new" condition but, it can actually be
demonstrated, it's in "better than new" condition -- something that is
saving the nation a lot of foreign currency, too. Instead of those boilers,
turbines and generators being scrapped, they are let's say... revived... at
a much lower cost! According to some experts in the field of high-power
electrical machinery, the basic equipment is really rugged and reliable, so
revamping all the peripherals has proven to be a very wise and cost-saving
But despite all the efforts in the field of more efficient generation of
electricity, Cuba has to look at the next century with BIOMASS in mind, as
the country's sugar industry is capable of providing very low-cost
electricity during the harvest season, by burning biogas in more efficient
higher pressure boilers than the ones used at the country's more than one
hundred and fifty sugar mills.
And this was "Breakthrough" for today... an update on Cuba's efforts to
generate more electricity from domestically produced oil, and also on how
the country is upgrading its generators to reduce the amount of oil needed
to produce each kilowatt hour.
From Havana, I am Arnie Coro, RHC's Science Editor, together with sound
engineer Jose Costa Pupo, inviting you to join us next week at the same time
and shortwave frequency for another edition of "Breakthrough."
Listen to RHC's "Breakthrough" report on Sunday evenings at 23:00 UTC,
broadcast to North America via shortwave on 6000, 9550 and 9820 kHz.