Energy profile: Cuba
Fuel mix (fossil fuels vs renewables)
Oil and natural gas provide roughly 80% of Cuba's total energy supply, with biofuels and waste accounting for most of the remaining 20%.
In 2020, 95.1% of electricity generated in Cuba came from non renewable resources and the remaining 4.9% from renewable sources (3% biomass, 0.8% solar, 0.6% hydro, and 0.5% wind). By 2030, Cuba aims to have 24% of electrical generation from renewable sources. Cuba's INDC commits to 19 bioelectric power plants fueled with wood and/or sugar cane residue (755MW), 13 wind farms (633 MW), solar photovoltaics (700MW), and 74 small hydroelectric plants for a total of 2,144 MW of renewable energy by 2030.
Cuba must speed up their energy transition in order to meet their renewables goal while also generating reliable, affordable electricity. Attracting vital foreign direct investment is critical for the Cuban energy transition.
Greenhouse gas emissions targets
Cuba does not have an adequate system in place to measure, report, and verify its greenhouse gas emissions but has listed the establishment of such a system as an objective for aligning itself with the Paris Agreement.
Government energy agencies & other key players
National energy ministry
MINEM (Ministerio de Energía y Minas) is responsible for the energy, mineral and geological sectors of Cuba.
Permitting & regulatory agencies
CITMA (Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Medio Ambiente de la República de Cuba) is responsible for authorizing environmental permits, overseeing environmental policy and research, and ensuring that energy projects are operated in a sustainable manner.
National oil company
CUPET (Unión Cuba-Petróleo) is the state-owned oil firm and Cuba's largest oil company.
Other energy companies
Other companies operating in Cuba's energy sector include Energas, Inter RAO, Zerus, Havana Energy, and Siemens.
Energy sector employment data
As of March 2016, CUPET employed 24,000 Cubans.
As of 2020, Cuba's installed generating capacity was 6,661 MW, with fossil fuels accounting for 81.3% of capacity and renewables making up the remaining 18.7%
In 2020, Cuba produced 19.1 TWh of electricity.
As the tourism sector in Cuba has continued to develop, electrical demand has risen in response to demand for air conditioning and refrigeration. Cuba has had increasing difficulty meeting electricity demands as the Venezuelan crisis has worsened.
In 2016, Cuba consumed 16.16 billion kWh of electricity.
Coal in Cuba
Cuba does not produce or have reserves of coal; following a period of high coal consumption during the early 1990s, modern day Cuba imports tiny amounts of coal per year, and it does not constitute an important part of the energy matrix.
Oil & Natural Gas in Cuba
In 2018, Cuba produced 50,000 barrels per day of crude oil and had 124 million barrels of proven reserves of crude oil. In 2015, Cuba produced 104,100 barrels per day of refined petroleum products. In 2017, Cuba produced 1.189 billion cu m of natural gas and as of January 2018 still had 70.79 billion cu m of proven natural gas reserves.
Imports & source countries
Cuba imported the majority of its oil supply from Venezuela at a subsidized rate, but the oil imports from Venezuela have fallen greatly as the crisis in Venezuela has worsened. Cuba supplements with imports from Russia to meet their oil needs.
Proposed new sources & projects
Cuba anticipates signing new contracts with foreign investors for oil exploration and discovery in coming years. Between 2019 and 2021 Cuba plans to license 24 deepwater blocks in its Gulf of Mexico EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) under a PSA (Production Sharing Agreement) model.
Oil arrives in Cuba on oil tankers. Transalba, the main shipping company, is jointly owned by Venezuela and Cuba.
Renewable Energy in Cuba
Solar and wind are the most promising renewable energy ventures in Cuba, but biomass, hydropower, and ocean energy are also being considered. Bagasse (sugar extraction dry pulp residue) is an important source of biomass for renewable energy generation in Cuba but has declined with the sugar industry. Cuba intends to allocate $3.5 billion for developing renewables by 2030.
In August 2021, in response to protests regarding wider economic frustration, the Cuban government loosened restrictions on the import and installation of renewable power equipment to address energy shortages on the island. 225 MW of renewable energy power capacity were operating on the island in August 2021.
In December 2021, the Ministry of Energy and Mines instructed the Electrical Department to start on contracts for the operation and installation of solar plants. In early 2022, Cuba began the process of selecting companies to bring 900 MW worth of solar plant projects to fruition on the island.
Iron & Steel in Cuba
Between 2020 and 2030, Cuba intends to grow its iron and steel industries through domestic and foreign investment as well as the use of Cuban raw materials. Steel mills in Havana and Las Tunas are slated to be modernized to reach the countrywide goal of 480,000 tons of billets and 460,000 tons of laminates after 2025. Russia has expressed interest in investing in the Cuban iron and steel sector.
As an island nation, Cuba is at a high risk for the impacts of climate change including dry periods, extreme weather, hurricanes, and sea level rise. Environmental activism is on the rise in Cuba but as of 2019 was heavily focused on beach pollution and animal protection. Activists pushing back against more controversial projects may face arbitrary arrests, censorship, persecution, or limitations on the right to freedom of expression on the internet. Afro-Cubans are disproportionately affected socially, environmentally, and economically by a lack of adequate environmental protections by the Cuban government.
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