The Antonio Guiteras Thermoelectric Power Plant (CTE), located in the western province of Matanzas, and the largest of its kind in Cuba, stopped its operations shortly after noon on Monday due to a deficit in the levels of processed water necessary for power generation.
This fact, as explained by the Cuban authorities, is a consequence of the active fire since Friday night at the Matanzas Supertanker Base, near the generating plant, and which has put the entire island in tension.
According to a statement released by the Electricity Conglomerate (UNE) on its social networks, the unexpected exit of the National Electroenenergetic System (SEN) of this thermoelectric plant increases the impact of the generation capacity deficit in the country, which means that there will be more blackouts on the island than those initially planned by the authorities.
In a previous report, the UNE had reported that during the day the SEN would suffer a generation deficit of around 850 Megawatts (MW), which would reach 924 MW in the so-called night peak hours, when the demand for the service grows considerably.
However, after the shutdown of the Antonio Guiteras CTE, the expected effects on the service amounted to some 1,192 MW, taking into account that at the time of the event, the plant was generating around 202 MW, according to what Lázaro Guerra Hernández, technical director of the UNE, explained to national television.
Without providing further details, the official commented that the lack of processed water in the Matanzas thermoelectric plant is related to the large-scale fire in the industrial zone. In turn, he reported that measures are being taken to overcome the situation with the transfer to the Guiteras plant of the water already treated from the Ernesto Che Guevara CTE, in Santa Cruz del Norte, to continue with the generation process.
Guerra Hernández assured that the recovery of the Matanzas thermoelectric plant will depend on the availability of the water levels, although it is not expected that it will be able to enter this Monday for the hour of maximum demand.
He also explained that work is being done to guarantee the supply of national crude for the generation of the plant since the pumping of fuel from the affected facilities is interrupted.
In addition to the Guiteras, and according to the report issued by the UNE for the day, units 6, 7 and 8 of the Mariel CTE, the Otto Parellada CTE unit, units 4 and 5 of the Nuevitas CTE, units 1 and 2 of the Felton CTE, and unit 5 of the Renté CTE, in Santiago de Cuba, are not operating due to breakages.
Operations in unit 4 of the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes CTE have stopped for maintenance, and the limitations in thermal generation (447 MW) are maintained, while in distributed generation 1,109 MW are unavailable due to breakdown and 577 MW are undergoing maintenance, the report added.
The UNE also reports that for peak hours the entry of unit 5 of the Nuevitas CTE with 100 MW and the use of 162 MW in diesel engines is forecast.
Cuba has been experiencing a tense electro-energy situation in recent months, marked by continuous breakdowns and outages due to maintenance of generating plants, and the problems of access to fuel, which could even worsen due to the fire at the Matanzas base. These effects translate into long blackouts, which motivate social discontent and have made the issue one of the government’s priorities, without being able to mitigate the crisis so far.