Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Cuba provides Venezuela electricity know-how

Source:, 25 January 2011.

Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas met with Electric Energy Minister Alí Rodríguez Araque Monday in Caracas to assess the state of 23 one-year old cooperation agreements on electricity, and to announce new projects.

Cabrisas was accompanied by Vicente Delaó, general director of Cuba’s Unión Eléctrica.

New projects include construction of an assembly plant for transformers and the creation of a “Latin American Institute for Energy Research and Studies” to train experts and technicians. The transformer plant could include additional partners who would like to assemble their products in Venezuela and export to other member countries of the ALBA trade and integration agreement, Rodríguez said.

Cuba last year provided and began to deploy hundreds of millions of dollars worth of generator clusters in Venezuela, helping the South American country overcome a power shortage. Under a separate, $280 million, agreement expected to conclude in July, Cuba is also refurbishing old thermoelectric plants. “Many” of the Cuban projects are “80 to 90 percent complete,” Rodríguez said, according to a press release by the Venezuelan electricity ministry.

The Venezuelan government just announced it plans to invest $21 billion to strengthen electricity generation, transmission and distribution in the greater Caracas area. The four-year investment program would increase the country’s generation capacity by 15,000 mw, or more than one-third. Some 7,000 mw would be gained by refurbishing existing capacities.

After the meeting with Cabrisas, Rodríguez mentioned a 50-mw unit Cuban engineers refurbished in an existing power plant at Las Mayas, in Miranda state near the capital. Work on the unit, mothballed for 20 years, began in March 2010 with 22 Cuban and 27 Venezuelan technicians. Cabrisas and Rodríguez toured the plant Jan. 22.

Cuba “has gained formidable experience in the maintenance and rehabilitation of electric installations,” Rodríguez said after touring the plant, according to Venezuela’s El Mundo.

The electricity minister suggested that Cuban engineers and technicians will provide troubleshooting services.

“The participation of the Cuban compañeros in Venezuela has had the great virtue that they already act, together with us, as one team,” Rodríguez said, according to the press release. “They’re present where problems arise that need to be corrected, aside from the plans that have progressed in a sustained way.”