Fidel announces major overhaul for Cuba's electrical grid

Campaign News | Thursday, 19 January 2006

Solar and wind power to play part in plans

Havana 19 Jan: FIDEL CASTRO announced a major renovation of Cuba's national energy system in comments published yesterday, outlining plans to decentralise the island's electrical grid.

In a Tuesday night speech published in state newspapers on Wednesday, Castro said the island's five mega thermoelectrical plants gradually would be replaced with smaller more localised plants, with gaps to be filled with solar and wind power.

Following severe blackouts across the island beginning in 2004 due to technical problems in the huge plants, "new ideas about the development of a more efficient and secure national electrical system have been put into practice," Castro said in a speech of more than two hours.

More than 4,000 power generators of varying sizes that operate on diesel and fuel oil have been ordered, and more than 3,000 of those have been delivered, the president said.

Castro said that so far enough have been installed to ensure electricity at critical sites during emergencies, including hospitals, schools, meteorological stations, and hotels serving tourists, the president said.

Hurricanes that batter the island every summer and autumn frequently knock out power for days in large areas of the country.

Along with the new smaller plants, antiquated electrical cabling tying the national energy system together will be replaced and the government is studying ways to make better use of solar and wind energy, Castro said.

The Cuban president spoke in the western province of Pinar del Rio, where he detailed the renovation plans to electrical workers and Communist Party faithful.

The Cuban president since early 2005 has promised Cubans that a major overhaul of the electrical grid was being planned.

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