CIRO REDONDO, Cuba, April 27 (Xinhua) -- The largest Cuban bio-electric plant with foreign investment for clean energy production began construction on Thursday in the central Cuban province of Ciego de Avila.
Located in the town of Ciro Redondo, about 430 kilometers east of Havana, the plant will also apply Chinese technologies by the joint venture firm Biopower S.A., a company with British and Cuban capital.
According to Francisco Lleo, official of the Cuban sugar state company AZCUBA, the investment of the plant will amount to about 186 million U.S. dollars and it will start operations in December 2019.
"This will be the first plant in Cuba to generate energy through the use of the sugarcane leftovers generated in the Ciro Redondo plant and to contribute 60 megawatt hours to the country's electricity system," said Lleo.
He also said that once sugar harvest is over, the plant will process marabu wood, a tree that proliferates in the local fields, to continue electricity generation.
"The plant will deliver all the electricity the factory needs to produce sugar and the rest will be contributed to the National Energy System," as part of Cuba's effort to produce up to 26 percent of its electricity with renewable or clean energy by 2030, said Lleo.
Chinese ambassador Chen Xi and British ambassador Anthony Stokes attended the commencement ceremony and welcomed the start of the bioelectric plant construction in Ciego de Avila.
Chen said he was pleased that Chinese companies are now helping Cuba's economic development, which helps strengthen ties between Havana and Beijing.
"This project will be a success because in addition to offering new jobs to the residents of the community, it will also preserve the environment by offering clean and efficient energy," he said.
It will have a great impact on the community because it will completely eliminate the sugarcane leftovers generated by the plant and will substantially reduce the emission of carbon dioxide.
Stokes pointed out that this is the first project launched by Cuba, China and the United Kingdom in the region for the production of renewable energy and will provide jobs for the local population.
"It is an important day for economic relations between our countries, which will help build a more sustainable and ecological future," said Stokes.
The production of electricity with renewable energy is part of the strategic projects of authorities in the Cuban energy sector to save fossil fuels and reduce its dependence on imported oil.