HAVANA, Nov. 17th Cuba welcomed on Tuesday a seventh floating power plant to its growing fleet of shipboard generators as the country seeks to bolster its grid and bring relief to citizens who for months have suffered daily, hourslong blackouts.
The powership, leased from Karpowership of Türkiye-based conglomerate Karadeniz Holding, is expected to feed an additional 110 megawatts of electricity into Cuba’s grid by month’s end, officials said, or about one-tenth the average daily generation shortfall.
The seven floating power plants, which will generate a total of 400 megawatts, representing one part of a strategy announced earlier this year to stem a growing energy crisis.
The government has said it also aims to purchase small diesel-fired, land-based generators to supplement the grid, and has announced plans to service its larger, though obsolete, Soviet-era fuel-fired power plants.
Cuba’s energy woes are perhaps the most painful symptom of a deeper financial crisis caused by external factors such as U.S. sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemic and poor economic management.
Modern powerships provide quick relief. They carry their own generators fueled by oil or gas, anchor close to land and connect with dedicated transmission lines to the local electricity grid. They are typically leased by a host country.
Cuban oil-fired power plants are, by comparison, aged and inefficient, averaging 35 years of age, with a backup system of hundreds of smaller generators at least 15 years old.
Just 5% of Cuba’s power currently comes from alternative energy sources.