SRUC Supports Pioneering Cuban Renewable Energy Venture

Published Wednesday, 5th December 2012 in SAC Consulting news

SAC Consulting (a Division of SRUC) has played a key role in a ground-breaking agreement between the Cuban Government and a British renewable energy company.

It will supply Cubans with more affordable electricity, increase the nation’s food production and create potentially hundreds of jobs. 

The Cuban state-owned Zerus and UK firm Havana Energy Ltd have signed a joint agreement to build the first of five biomass power generation plants at sugar mills across Cuba. The plants will be fuelled partly by bagasse waste from the sugar mills and partly by marabu, an invasive woody weed that covers large areas of the country.

The marabu is where SAC Consulting comes in. Working in collaboration with Napier, Heriot Watt and Strathclyde Universities, SAC’s Senior Rural Business Consultant Julian Bell has spent the last two years developing an economic method of harvesting and processing the weed for bio-energy for use in Cuba and, potentially, for export to Europe. The Scottish input has played a key role in bringing the agreement - the biggest between Cuba and a UK company for 50 years - to fruition.

Speaking from Havana, where he attended the signing of the agreement, Julian said: “Since the fall of the Soviet Union, demand for Cuban sugar has collapsed leading to the abandonment of millions of hectares of prime arable land, the loss of vital export earnings and jobs. Efforts to restore land to productive use have been hampered by a number of problems including the spread of marabu.

“But the work of this project will bring change that will benefit the Cuban people – it will provide affordable electricity, tackle the problem of so much prime land lying unused, help boost food production and create much needed jobs.

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