Cuba has hosted its first Renewable Energy Business Forum during the Cuba International Renewable Energies Fair Trade from January 30 to February 8. The event was sponsored by the EU, which is expected to invest $18m to support the Cuban government’s new programme for renewable energy development.
The investment forum attracted 170 participants from 19 countries to attend exhibitions, training workshops, and conferences, with the aim of connecting Cuban specialists with foreign companies with collaborate on modern sustainable technologies and promote FDI into Cuba.
The event is part of the Cuban government’s Policy for the Development of Renewable Sources and the Efficient Use of Energy, approved in 2014. The programme seeks to increase Cuba’s output of renewable energy from its current level of 4% to 24% by 2030. Alfredo Lopez, Cuba’s minister of energy and mines, says Cuba is committed to replacing 1.75 million tons of fossil fuel per year to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
Elaine Moreno, director of rational use of energy, adds: “It is quite an ambitious project but totally possible. We have projects in quiet advanced stages including solar, wind and biomass energy. It is ambitious but we can implement it.”
The investment forum showcased opportunities in renewable energy sector. Cuban wind energy is planned to account for 6% of Cuba’s power generation by 2030, thanks to the construction of 13 wind farms, two of which are already operating thanks to Chinese investments. During the next year, Cuba aims to open 37 solar parks with governmental backing, and 21 through FDI.
Cuba is also looking to exploit its sugar industry to create electricity. Today, Cuba has three bioelectric plants which process sugarcane biomass. However, there are another 10 plants under negotiation and a further 14 seeking foreign investments. The Cuban government is planning to increase the proportion of clean energy produced by biomass from 14% today to 24% by 2030.
Cuba’s overall greenfield FDI reached its highest ever level in 2017, in terms of project numbers, according to fDi Markets, a greenfield investment monitor from the Financial Times. However, the country did not secure any FDI in green energy that year. Nevertheless, its renewable energy sector remains the fourth most popular target for inward FDI since January 2003. Cuba’s most recent greenfield investment in renewable energy was in June 2016, when UK-based solar energy specialist Hive Energy invested $253.1m in a 50-megawatt solar farm in the Mariel Special Development Zone Cuba.