China-Cuba look to further renewable energy cooperation

Assistance from China will be a key factor in the development of renewable energy in Cuba. A recent visit by China’s Premier Li Keqiang comes at a time when Cuba’s other major ally, Venezuela, has had to cut back on assistance due to domestic problems. Thus China is stepping to present itself as the principal partner in Cuban development, by providing technology and investment for the renewable energy market. A new solar panel plant is now manufacturing around 60,000 panels a year with technology and components provided on credit from the Asian giant, and key Cuban workers are sent there for training to enable production to increase threefold. The plant will make everything from LED lights to electric cookers. With investment from Chinese multinational Shanghai Electric, a $165 million biomass plant will soon begin construction in central Cuba. Havana Energy Ltd., owners of the plant, have long had trouble raising finance for the project due to the U.S. trade embargo; Shanghai Electric is now a majority shareholder. Although Cuba produces just 4 percent of its energy from renewable sources, renewed cooperation with China boosts confidence that the country will be able to achieve the goal of 24 percent renewables by 2030.

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