The Thermoelectric Power Plant (CTE) Antonio Guiterasthe largest unitary generation block on the island, has not yet come into operation, after more than three months of leaving the National Electric System (SEN).
After its last break last February, the plant, located in killingsentered a maintenance process, so that it could be in better condition during the summer months.
Due to the complex state of the unit, which in recent years has suffered repeated breakdowns, the Unión Eléctrica (UNE) decided to extend the work “at least until June”, according to authorities last march. Then, thanks to the advancement of these actions, the possibility of its start-up at the end of May was handled.
In that maintenance period a collapse in chimney of the thermoelectric plant, an event that cost the lives of two workers and injured two others, but did not stop work at the plant.
This Tuesday, As reported the newspaper Granmain the Guiteras the start-up and start-up works were carried out, prior to its connection to the SEN.
However, two days later, the sync still failed. Right now, according to the Cuban News Agency (ACN), checks are performed prior to this step.
The engineer Lázaro Guerra, technical director of the UNE, explained this morning in a television report that “in the reviews carried out this Wednesday the behavior was positive in general, although the necessary adjustments in the lubrication system will take about four days,” reports the ACN.
If so, the Antonio Guiteras Thermoelectric could start operating on Sunday or early next week.
After its start-up, it must contribute to the SEN about 230 megawatts (MW), which would significantly increase the capacity of generation on the island facing the dreaded summer season, a moment classified as “crucial” by the newspaper Granma.
The goal, according to the publication, is that, once synchronized, the plant “can stay online for the next 90 days.”
The engineer Rubén Campos Olmos, general director of Guiteras, explained to Granma that “the greatest weight” of the maintenance actions “was in the repair of the low-pressure cylinder of the turbine.”
However, he said, “it was also necessary to replace pipes, work on the air heaters, on the 110 kV and 220 kV output towers, and undertake other tasks in the boiler, as well as vital equipment and objects in the industry, without ruling out the collection of materials and cleaning of the areas”.
The specialist pointed out that, even after its commissioning, work will continue to carry out capital maintenance, which is scheduled before the end of this year.
However, the main challenge that its workers have, once the plant begins operations, is to keep the block online in these summer months, when electricity consumption is higher due to the increase in temperatures.
A few days ago, the Minister of Energy and Mines of Cuba, Vicente de la O, assured that the country will face this period “in better conditions” and that “all the actions planned for the recovery of the SEN have been fulfilled.”
Cuba has been going through a complex situation in electricity generation for at least two years, due to the age and continuous breakages of the plants, maintenance stoppages and difficulties with the fuel supply.
This has caused long blackouts throughout the country, especially at times of greatest crisis, and has increased criticism and discontent among the population.