Cuba obtains fourth power barge to ease blackouts

HAVANA, Nov. 24th The barges run on fuel oil procured by the Turkish company, Cuban state-owned utility UNE said.The new barge is located off the coast of the capital Havana and in early December will begin delivering 130MW to the national grid through the Tallapiedra thermoelectric plant, UNE technical director Lazaro Guerra said in a statement.

The first three barges were installed in the bay of Mariel – 40km (24.8mi) west of Havana – since 2019, and the latest will bring total barge-based capacity to 330MW, representing 12pc of the island’s current generation, UNE said.

Karpowership is part of Istanbul-based Karadeniz Energy Group. Neither has not responded to repeated requests for comment from Argus.

The additional floating plant will ease Cuba’s long-standing power deficit that has worsened in recent months because of a fuel shortage and equipment breakdowns.

Some of Cuba’s Soviet-era plants burn domestic heavy crude and others use diesel. Cuba has 5.87GW of installed generating capacity, of which 3.2GW is operational, according to UNE. Power generation this week is 2.6GW.

Cuba’s fuel deficit has gotten worse partly because of falling oil supply from traditional ally Venezuela.

The island’s government also blames US sanctions for blocking access credit to purchase parts and equipment to upgrade its generators.

 Cuba obtains fourth power barge to ease blackouts

“Generation reserves are low and power cuts could get worse if there are other problems with power plants,” energy minister Livan Arronte said in commenting on the arrival of the fourth power barge.

Cuba’s Caribbean neighbor, the Dominican Republic, is also expanding the use of barge-mounted thermal plants through an agreement with Karpowership to install a 258MW gas-fired facility.

The Dominican unit will be berthed outside Boca Chica in the country’s south, the Dominican energy ministry told Argus earlier this month. This will be the country’s second barge-mounted, gas-fired barge complex.

Independent power producer (IPP) Transcontinental Capital — a subsidiary of diversified US firm Seaboard — is installing the 145MW natural gas-fired Estrella del Mar barge to replace an older unit off the coast of the capital, Santo Domingo.

Karpowership has not confirmed negotiations with Haiti’s state power utility EdF for the installation of barges there.

(www.argusmedia.com)