Cuba has solved its crippling energy shortages, with the help of wind power. While it still relies heavily on old fashioned and wasteful gas flare and diesel generators, the addition of wind generation has helped to eliminate the once daily energy shortages.
“Cuba a few years ago was facing a real energy crisis, 16 hours of … electricity cuts and therefore a realization that the economy was going to collapse under this system,” said head of the U.N. Environment Program Achim Steiner. “In terms of a short term response, it is quite remarkable how Cuba, under its economic conditions, managed to solve that crisis,” he said. At a news conference, Steiner said “Cuba can look proudly at having solved a short-term crisis with a long-term commitment toward cleaner energy.” He went on to say his organization wanted to “put a spotlight on Cuba’s efforts.”
In 2004 after a series of summer blackouts left the populous furious because of the lack of air conditioning or refrigeration, the communist government took action. Implementing what they called the Energy Revolution. Reports say that Castro was on tv daily explaining in detail the steps towards energy independence, and government workers went door to door replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFL’s.
Cuba’s first wind farm was built in 1999 on the island of Turiguano with a generation capacity of 4.5 megawatts. There are now two other wind farms, one in Gibara, Holguin, that’s 5.1 megawatts and one on the Island of Youth that’s 1.65 megawatts. The government expects them to preform at near full capacity in 2008, resulting in about 11.5 megawatts of generation.
The government is currently conducting a study to find more wind farm sites, both onshore and off. They have also shown interest in other forms of renewable energy such as tidal, wave, bio-gas, and solar.