Cuba will suffer a 36% electricity generation deficit this Thursday

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The energy deficit will exceed 36% of the maximum generation capacity this Thursday in Cuba, reported the state-owned Electric Union (UNE).

The energy crisis that the country has suffered for months has been aggravated in recent days by the strike due to technical problems at the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant, one of the largest.

The long blackouts that have been affecting different areas of the island for months – and since August also in Havana – are expected to continue throughout the day, sometimes with up to 12 consecutive hours without electricity.

In the hours of greatest consumption this Thursday, an availability of 2,234 megawatts (MW) and a maximum demand of 3,050 MW are estimated, which places the deficit at 816 MW.

This will lead to an affectation of 886 MW during peak hours, according to the UNE, which warned that the areas with power outages could increase -up to the equivalent of 1,136 MW- if it is not possible to start up, as planned, a block from the Felton plant.

This volume of damage would mean that during peak hours, early at night, a third of the island would have to remain in the dark.

Yesterday, Wednesday, the generation deficit exceeded 50% for the first time. The Antonio Guiteras plant, explained the UNE, “had been in operation for several days with technical parameters outside the permissible values.”

It is not the first time that Guiteras has left the national electrical system, which in recent months has been paralyzed due to breakages, scheduled maintenance and even the impact of lightning. It is expected to be synchronized again on Saturday, according to the UNE.

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Power outages – due to failures and breakages in old-fashioned thermoelectric plants, lack of fuel and scheduled maintenance – are becoming more frequent in the country.

According to data from the UNE collated by Efe, in 60 of the 62 days of July and August there have been blackouts in Cuba.

The Cuban government has announced that it aims to reduce supply cuts substantially by the end of the year through repairs and new investments.

In recent days there have been several dozen protests, including those that took place in Nuevitas (east), with two consecutive nights of demonstrations.

Already last year the blackouts were one of the reasons that motivated the anti-government protests of July 11, 2021, the largest in decades.

Cuba relies heavily on foreign oil to produce energy (thermoelectric plants generate two-thirds of the electricity) and its main supplier, Venezuela, has notably reduced its shipments.

The Cuban government aspires to reduce this dependency and has a plan so that by 2030 37% of its energy mix (just over 3,500 megawatts) comes from renewable sources.

The country has been going through a serious economic crisis for two years due to the pandemic, the tightening of US sanctions and failures in national management.

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