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(Roundup): Cuba embarks on clean energy program

HAVANA, Dec. 27 — Cuba reopened a 100-year-old hydro power station recently in its west after some repair work, embarking on a long-term program to promote green energy.

The electricity-generating capacity of the station, built in 1912 next to the small town of Pilotos in del Rio province, could reach 270 kw/h, the official daily Juventud Rebelde quoted energy authorities as saying on Tuesday.

The clean energy boosting program also includes the construction of two sugarcane biomass-fueled power plants of 20,000 kw and 30,000 kw respectively.

Experts said the upcoming plants would increase the amount of energy obtained from every ton of cane bagasse by three times.

Cuba, under the energy program, will install more solar farms in various parts of the country, which is expected to contribute 10,000 kw to the National Energetic System (NES).

Having had five wind farms, the Caribbean island nation will build another wind farm in the eastern province of Las Tunas in 2013, expected to provide 51,000 kw for the NES. Figures by the National Electric Union show that the island could generate between 5,000 and 14,000 mw of energy from wind.

Besides, it plans to build three more bio-diesel factories to produce ecological fuel from a non-edible oil shrub known as "Milky Nut" whose seeds are highly oleaginous but intoxicant.

Cuban authorities have pledged to generate one-sixth of the electricity the island consumed from renewable sources by the end of this decade.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Cuba increased the use of renewable energy by 4 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year, saving 1,135 tons of oil.

The country has to import 10 thousand barrels of oil per day from Venezuela as its annual production of about 4 million tons can only meet 50 percent of the domestic needs. (PNA/Xinhua)

LOR/EBP

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