Havana, June 22. Cuba and France signed on Wednesday a letter of intent for collaboration in the energy sector to increase the presence of renewable energies in the island's energy matrix, state media reported.
Cuban Minister of Energy and Mines (Minem), Liván Arronte, the French Ambassador to Cuba, Patrice Paoli, and the head of the mission of the French Development Agency, Guillaume Graff, participated in the ceremony held during the first day of the II International Fair of Renewable Energies in Havana, which will be held until June 24.
It is expected that this collaboration will contribute to Cuba's aspiration to achieve energy independence from fossil fuels, explained Ariel Orta, head of International Relations and Collaboration of the Minem, quoted by the state agency Prensa Latina.
He said that projects are already being developed - with French collaboration - to install 9 photovoltaic solar parks of some 50 megawatts and small units in isolated areas, and that a feasibility study is also planned for the exploration of wind resources in the eastern provinces of the island.
"Cuba has electrified more than 99% of the country, but there are areas where it is necessary to replace or change the light points. Hence the importance of these collaborations," said the executive.
Specialists from the Ministry of Energy and Mines have pointed out that the Caribbean country intends to generate electricity through wind farms, photovoltaic or bioelectricity from forest biomass or sugar cane.
Businessmen and experts from Italy, Spain, China and India are participating in the fair, as well as 24 exhibitors, 10 Cuban and 6 foreign universities.
The event coincides with a complex situation in the Cuban energy system, with daily blackouts that have been attributed to continuous breakdowns in several thermoelectric power plants, programmed blackouts in others and fuel shortages.
Since the end of May, the Cuban Presidency has reported daily on energy generation and demand in the country, after describing the situation of the national electricity system as "tense" and warning that "difficult days" remain before the arrival of the hottest months of the year, those with the highest consumption.
The state-owned company Unión Eléctrica de Cuba (UNE) has reported in recent months more than 300 damages in many of the 13 thermoelectric power plants (eight on land and five floating) in the country. EFE