On November 18, a new floating power plant for the generation of electricity arrived at the Cuban port, which, once installed in the Bay of Havana, will add some 130 megawatts (MW) of power to the National Electric System (sen).
This patana (as floating power plants are also known) will be the fourth installation of its kind in the country, joining three others based in Mariel Bay, which have been operating since 2019 as a result of an agreement between Cuba and the Turkish company Karadeniz Holding. with a contribution of 200 MW.
About what will happen in the coming days and the details of its start-up and operation, Granma spoke with the engineer Lázaro Guerra Hernández, technical director of the National Electric Union (UNE), who specified that the plant, once it arrived , moved to Mariel to carry out unloading operations related to the facility itself. Later, it will move, with tugboats, to the bay of Havana, being located near the Tallapiedra thermoelectric plant, from where a direct electrical line will be installed to the Melones substation.
At this time –explained the manager– the conditions are being prepared to enable the necessary energy evacuation line, once the patana is located in the place.
Although work is being done to invest as little time as possible in evacuating the energy and installing the floating plant, it cannot start as soon as it reaches the Havana harbor, but requires a process of anchoring and placing large concrete blocks on the seabed to fix it to the ground, Guerra Hernández clarified.
However, – he affirmed – it is expected that in December it will already be generating energy, with about 130 MW additional to what is currently generated.
The floating plants are designed on a barge, to which engines are placed. In the case of the three installed in Mariel and the most recent one that will operate in Havana, they operate with fuel engines, which is why they are known technologies in the country. Of the three that work in Mariel, two have four engines, and one has two; while the one that will be installed in the capital has seven.
The UNE executive stressed that this is a very stable generation provided by these patanas, which annually generate 7% of the country’s total electricity, which should be increased to 12% with the new power plant.
Regarding the impact on the environment, Lázaro Guerra Hernández stressed that it complies with environmental regulations in terms of gas emissions, noise and possible vibrations.
The 130 MW floating power plant to be located in the bay of Havana is already in Cuba, which will improve the country’s generation capacity. #CubaViveYAvanza#FidelPorSiempre pic.twitter.com/aOwyXEQ73s
– Lázaro Guerra Hernández (@ LzaroGuerraHer1) November 18, 2021
WHAT IMPACT WILL THE NEW FLOATING PLANT HAVE ON THE NATIONAL ELECTRICAL SYSTEM?
Its installation will supply 130 MW to sen, thus improving the system’s sufficiency and increasing the capacity to meet demand, which has been limited since June due to the generation capacity deficit, highlighted the Technical Director of the UNE.
In this regard, he added that the floating power plant will reduce the deficit that may occur at any given time to cover the demand of the system and thus avoid blackouts. In addition to having high availability and delivering energy in a stable way, it also consumes low-quality fuel, which represents cost savings, said Guerra Hernández.
Currently, at noon there are no blackouts, but diesel engines are being used to meet the demand. By adding 130 MW to sen “the number of engines that are working with diesel decreases, so this fuel is saved for the country at all peak times,” said the manager.
The patana can represent a relief for the state sector, subject to restrictions in its consumption plan given the country’s electrical energy situation. The delivery of more energy will favor a higher level of activity in this sector for next year, he said.
WHY GO TO A FLOATING PLANT?
“Floating plant technology is typically used in crisis situations. It is always about own generation assuming the demand, but in times of global energy crisis, which has caused a generation deficit in many places, this technology is used ”, explained Guerra Hernández.
The country, he added, has been affected by electricity service since June, which is why it is very effective to launch a bolt, mainly due to the short time of acquisition and start-up.
In the case of this new floating plant, negotiations began at the end of September and by December it is expected to be generating, the official stressed.
“Energy facilities take a long time to build; when there is an energy crisis, we must find solutions that are quick and that do not compromise the future, “said the Technical Director of the UNE, while explaining that these mobile solutions are used for limited periods of time and then can be dismantled.