Cuba welcomes 7th ‘powership’ to its fleet in struggle to keep lights on

Cuba welcomes 7th ‘powership’ to  its fleet in struggle to keep lights on

Turkish “Karadeniz Powership Irem Sultan” is seen after its arrival at the Havana bay in Havana, Cuba, on November 15. Photo credit Reuters/Alexandre Meneghini.


HAVANA, Cuba--Cuba welcomed on Tuesday a seventh floating power plant to its growing fleet of shipboard generators as the communist-run country seeks to bolster its grid and bring relief to citizens who for months have suffered daily, hours-long blackouts.

  The so-called “powership” leased from Turkey-based Karadeniz Holding, is expected to feed an additional 110 megawatts (MW) of electricity into Cuba’s grid by month’s end, officials said, or about 10% of the average daily generation shortfall.

  The seven floating powerplants, which will generate a total of 400MW, represent one part of an unorthodox and improvised strategy announced earlier this year to stem a growing energy crisis.

  The cash-strapped government has said it also aims to purchase small diesel-fired, land-based generators to supplement the grid, and has announced plans to service its larger, though obsolete, Soviet-era fuel-fired power plants.

  Cuba’s energy woes are perhaps the most painful symptom of a deeper financial crisis caused by external factors such as US sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemic and poor economic management.

  The modern powerships provide quick relief. They carry their own generators fuelled by oil or gas, anchor close to land and connect with dedicated transmission lines to the local electricity grid. They are typically leased by a host country.

  Cuban oil-fired power plants are, by comparison, decrepit and inefficient, averaging 35 years of age, with a backup system of hundreds of smaller generators at least 15 years old.

  Just 5% of Cuba’s power currently comes from alternative energy sources. ~ Reuters ~

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