A project to build the largest wind farm in the country is advancing in Las Tunas
Jesús Menénedéz, Las Tunas (Granma) – Promoting the use of renewable energy sources is today a focus in many countries across the world. Seeking to protect the environment and reduce the impact of electricity generation on the economy, Cuba is also committed to this viable, sustainable alternative.
Since 2007, in the costal area of La Herradura, in the municipality of Jesús Menéndez, experts have been undertaking the necessary studies for the construction of the largest wind farm in the country. The measurements taken show that the wind speed in the area is on average 6.68 meters per second (m/s), providing the optimal conditions for the operation of wind turbines.
With a total cost of 174 million pesos, the farm will provide power to the national electric system. Likewise, the construction works are already benefiting the local community, as a source of employment, while cell phone services have been extended to areas previously lacking coverage, and surrounding roads have been improved.
DETAILS OF THE PROJECT
According to Adela Álvarez Fernández, head of the Integrated Department of Wind Energy Project Management of the Renewable Energy Sources Investment Company (EDIFRE) for Herradura 1, as the farm is called, 34 1.5 megawatt wind turbines will be installed, providing a total output of 51 MW.
However, before this equipment can be installed, a number of construction works, which are already underway, are necessary. Such is the case of a logistical support center for workers where the concrete required for each of the turbine platforms will be processed. Coupled with this temporary facility, work on the construction of a laboratory to monitor and control samples of the material used in the area is underway.
Other vital tasks have been undertaken to ensure transportation of cargo to the wind farm, and the circulation of specialized vehicles. In the port of Carúpano, where the equipment imported from China will arrive, an area that was in disuse since Hurricane Ike was rehabilitated. The road out of the port was also expanded, as equipment greater than four meters high will be transported.
Today, the access road to the farm is being completed, while 26 kilometers were cleared for the construction of internal roads, a difficult task considering that the area is located only 250 meters from the coast. The project manager also added that the engineering-geological studies have been completed, and only the basic engineering studies are outstanding, including the details of each of the wind turbine platforms.
In line with the precepts of sustainable development and given that the wind farm is located along a migratory bird flyway, also included in the project are plans to ensure wildlife is not negatively affected.
Although the launch of the wind farm is planned for late 2017 or early 2018, it is already possible to speak of the benefits to the country. The most significant are the annual savings of 43,000 tons of diesel.
It should also be noted that this will be the first of two wind farms. The second, located one kilometer away, will have a total of 20, more powerful, turbines.
According to electrical engineer Miguel Casí Céspedes, general specialist of the EDIFRE Technical Group, the energy supply provided by both farms to the national grid will be considerable. The daily demand of the province itself, (108 MW) will be covered and even exceeded. Additionally, he noted, there will be a considerable improvement in the infrastructure of electricity distribution lines.
Undoubtedly, this is an ambitious project, but it will provide huge benefits for the people and technological advances for the country.