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Cuba's Energy Future

Cuba's Energy Future: Strategic Approaches to Cooperation

Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 143
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  • Book Info
    Cuba's Energy Future
    Book Description:

    Approaching an uncertain future without Fidel Castro, and still reeling from a downturn at the end of the cold war, Cuba must act decisively to improve its economy and living conditions. One of the major challenges facing the impoverished island nation is securing access to energy resources that are sufficient to meet the needs of its revitalization and development goals. What steps can Cuba take to achieve both short- and long-term energy sustainability and self-sufficiency? In this timely analysis, Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado and his colleagues answer that question.

    Cuba's Energy Futuresets the geostrategic context within which Cuba is operating. The book provides an overview of the evolving relations among Caribbean states and explains why Cuba and its longtime nemesis the United States should look for ways to cooperate on developing energy resources. The possible role of oil companies is explored, as is Cuba's energy relationship with Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.

    The second section ofCuba's Energy Futurefeatures economic and technical appraisals, economic projections, and trends affecting Cuba's energy needs, including oil and natural gas potential, the country's antiquated electric power sector, and the role of biofuels such as sugarcane ethanol. The concluding section focuses on the conditions necessary for, and the mutual benefits of, greater cooperative engagement with the United States.

    Contributors: Juan A. B. Belt (Chemonics International, formerly USAID), Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado (University of Nebraska-Omaha and University of Georgia), Amy Myers Jaffe (Rice University), Jorge R. Piñón (Florida International University), Ronald Soligo (Rice University).

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0459-1
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado
  4. one Evaluating the Prospects for U.S.-Cuban Energy Policy Cooperation
    (pp. 1-20)
    Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado

    These two quotations, dated nearly five years apart, distill the essence of why the United States should be looking carefully to the development of energy resources in Cuba. For the past fifty years, U.S. policy toward Cuba has relied on the application of cold war measures—economic sanctions, technology denial, and political isolation—in an effort to push Cuba over the tipping point of regime collapse and toward the peace and prosperity that would follow from embracing democracy.

    This policy, which endures in part to maintain the notion that such measures will foster political change on the island and after...

  5. two Extracting Cuba’s Oil and Gas: Challenges and Opportunities
    (pp. 21-47)
    Jorge R. Piñón and Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado

    Potential offshore oil deposits were identified in Cuban waters in 2004, yet amid widespread speculation as to their magnitude and potential, there has been little exploratory work undertaken to evaluate the actual amount of oil and gas reserves that are present, the feasibility of extraction, and the deposits’ eventual productive capacity. In the recent as in the more distant past, there have been hints that there may be an oil giant in the Florida Strait ripe for investment from its neighbors to the north. Insofar as Cuba remains off-limits to American firms, the notion becomes all the more alluring and...

  6. three The Electric Power Sector in Cuba: Ways to Increase Efficiency and Sustainability
    (pp. 48-79)
    Juan A. B. Belt

    Since the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, the electric power sector of Cuba has been managed with little regard for financial and economic issues. This approach to the power sector has a long history in the Communist bloc, as the sector was considered to have a preeminent political dimension. Lenin famously noted in 1920, “Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country.”¹ It was not considered necessary nor even desirable for this sector to pay for itself or turn a profit.

    Cuba’s per capita annual power consumption is about 1,300 kilowatt-hours (kWh). Table 3-1 shows Cuba’s per...

  7. four Energy Balances and the Potential for Biofuels in Cuba
    (pp. 80-109)
    Ronald Soligo and Amy Myers Jaffe

    In 2002 we published a paper on Cuban energy that began with the observation “Cuba is considered a promising growth energy market in the Americas.”¹ Eight years later Cuba shows even greater promise in the energy sector, but progress in realizing energy opportunities has been slow. Gaining a better understanding of Cuba’s energy potential is important for policymakers in the United States, Cuba, and the Caribbean region. From the American point of view, the possibility of having an additional supplier of energy to the U.S. market located just a few miles offshore could contribute significantly to the United States’ energy...

  8. five Prospects for U.S.-Cuban Energy Engagement: Findings and Recommendations
    (pp. 110-130)
    Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado

    At the outset of this book we asked the question, “What would an ideal strategic energy policy look like for the United States, or any other country, for that matter?”

    Mahmoud Amin El-Gamal and Amy Myers Jaffe partially answered that question for us in their paper “Energy, Financial Contagion and the Dollar,”¹ by setting out a detailed analysis of the tasks that a strategic energy policy should accomplish, among them:

    —To ensure that markets operate efficiently so as to develop the infrastructure necessary to meet growing energy requirements

    —To ensure the well-being of the human habitat and ecosystem

    —To guarantee...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 131-132)
  10. Index
    (pp. 133-144)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 145)