History repeats itself: Felton unit 1 goes out of service again and blackouts worsen in Cuba

The Electric Union reported that unit 1 of the Lidio Ramón Pérez thermoelectric plant in Felton, Holguínwhich had synchronized the national electricity system on Sunday, was once again out of service, which disables the thermoelectric plant that delivers the greatest amount of energy to the national grid and predicts longer blackouts across the country.

In a note where the state entity does not clarify the reasons for the new faultit indicated that now “units 6, 7 and 8 of the Mariel Thermoelectric plant, the Otto Parellada unit, unit 4 of the Nuevitas unit, units 1 and 2 of Felton and the unit 6 of Rent”.

This represents a generation deficit of 650MW during daytimewhich will be even higher during peak hours.

Apart from the above, unit 4 of the Cienfuegos Thermoelectric Plant is undergoing maintenance, while the 20MW steam turbine at the Energas Varadero plant is out of service, and thermal generation limitations of around 419 MW remain.

Felton unit 1 had suffered a boiler failure last week and had just been repaired.

This situation occurs when the boiler of unit 2 of that thermoelectric plant is being dismantled after a fire that occurred on July 8 would cause serious damage to both the installation and the structure that supports it.

According to the official newspaper Granma, 70% of the boiler and its components will be dismantled since, “due to the damage caused to one of its columns, the structure suffered an imbalance or deformation”.

The authorities of the Ministry of Energy and Mines indicated at the end of July that this repair will take a year or more, so the prospects of overcoming the current energy crisis are not encouraging.

The Cuban electricity generation system has been collapsed for yearsalthough the worsening of the situation occurred at the beginning of the current summer.

“The system has an installed capacity of 6,550MW and today 2,500 are available, for a demand of 2,900MW,” recognized the Minister of Energy and Mines, Liván Arronte, who said that increases in demand of the order of 100MW above the usual in recent weeks.

Arronte recalled that Cuba has 20 generation units, of which 19 have more than 37 years of operation on average. “A thermoelectric plant is designed for about 25 years,” he said, and today there are “16 out of its capital maintenance cycle.”

Likewise, in the case of generator sets, which produce energy with fuel oil and diesel, these are today at 30% and 44%, respectively. This, assured the minister, due to the “lack of resources to put them into operation,” referring to the decrease in fuel shipments from Venezuela, the island’s main supplier and which has increased its exports to Asia and Europe, to the detriment of his political ally.

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