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Authors' Class Standing

Elizabeth Worsham, Senior Genesis Vargas

Lead Presenter's Name

Elizabeth Worsham

Faculty Mentor Name

Wes Lewis

Abstract

Cuba’s national pride comes from their autonomy in many industries, although they have been dependent on other countries to supply them with energy since the revolution. In the 1990’s, after the demise of the Soviet Union, Cuba entered its “Special Period” in which it faced energy shortages that caused oil consumption to drop by 20 percent from 1989 to 1992. In later years, the “Cuban Energy Revolution” focused on replacing inefficient infrastructure, encouraging energy efficiency, expanding electricity availability, and pursuing renewable energy generation. Luckily, Cuba has a high capacity for various renewable energy sources, including wind, biomass, solar, and hydropower, and as of 2014, Cuban energy experts estimate that renewable sources make up about 7-8% of total electricity generation. Despite its efforts, Cuba is in the midst of another energy crisis, and neighborhoods have been facing blackouts similar to those of the 1990’s. Heavy restrictions on energy consumption and the possibility of blackouts undoubtedly have an effect on the way citizens live and use energy. This study combines the interviews and observations of Cubans as they use energy in their lives, including changes in their culture and daily routine, as well as the study of renewable energy infrastructure across the country.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Ignite Grant

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Powering Cuba: A Study of Cuba's Energy Autonomy and its Effect on Culture

Cuba’s national pride comes from their autonomy in many industries, although they have been dependent on other countries to supply them with energy since the revolution. In the 1990’s, after the demise of the Soviet Union, Cuba entered its “Special Period” in which it faced energy shortages that caused oil consumption to drop by 20 percent from 1989 to 1992. In later years, the “Cuban Energy Revolution” focused on replacing inefficient infrastructure, encouraging energy efficiency, expanding electricity availability, and pursuing renewable energy generation. Luckily, Cuba has a high capacity for various renewable energy sources, including wind, biomass, solar, and hydropower, and as of 2014, Cuban energy experts estimate that renewable sources make up about 7-8% of total electricity generation. Despite its efforts, Cuba is in the midst of another energy crisis, and neighborhoods have been facing blackouts similar to those of the 1990’s. Heavy restrictions on energy consumption and the possibility of blackouts undoubtedly have an effect on the way citizens live and use energy. This study combines the interviews and observations of Cubans as they use energy in their lives, including changes in their culture and daily routine, as well as the study of renewable energy infrastructure across the country.

 

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