The Antonio Guiteras Thermoelectric Power Plantthe main generating plant of its kind in Cuba, presented problems this Tuesday in a test for its startup and synchronization to the National Electroenergetic System (SEN), after the breakdown suffered days ago.
The “rigorous hydraulic test” was carried out in “early morning hours,” according to the newspaper Giron, from Matanzas, province where the plant is located. Its director, Misbel Palmero explained that “the difficulties that have arisen in the last few hours make it necessary to use lifting equipment to be able to ascend to a height of 24 meters, where the breakdowns related to the boiler furnace are found.”
Palmero assured that in order to solve these problems, work would be carried out “during the following afternoon, night and early morning, and for as many hours as necessary, with the aim of synchronizing with the SEN before the peak schedule for tomorrow, Wednesday, April 20.”
La Guiteras stopped its electricity production due to an “unforeseen outage” last Saturday, which, together with damages and maintenance in other generating units, has caused deficits in the generation capacity on the Island and, consequently, power cuts in various regions of the Caribbean country.
After its breakdown, the Electric Union (UNE) stated that it would work “uninterruptedly” and recognized that “the necessary capital maintenance” of that plant has been postponed for almost a decade. as reported at the beginning of this year, that maintenance is planned for “the last quarter” of this year.
In accordance with Gironthe facility “has the necessary human and material resources to undertake the tasks required for this repair, and technically includes local specialists and those from the Power Plant Maintenance Company.”
The information adds that at the time of the breakdown the Guiteras, which was already out of service last March, produced 240 megawatts, below its installed generation capacity.
With more than three decades in operation, the Matanzas thermoelectric plant has among its advantages that it consumes national crude oil by pipeline, without the need for transportation expenses. In 2021 it suffered several breakdowns and unscheduled shutdowns, which forced maintenance actions and affected the country’s generating capacity, together with breakages in other plants.
These breakages, coupled with fuel difficulties, caused a scenario of energy instability and annoying blackouts throughout the past year on the Island, which were one of the triggers for the protests against the government in July, the largest in decades in the Caribbean nation.