ABB technology keeps electricity flowing for top Cuban tourist resort

ABB technology keeps electricity flowing for top Cuban tourist resort

ABB hybrid switchgear modules will help upgrade Cuba’s power infrastructure and protect against storms

Varadero is a resort town on the Hicacos Peninsula on Cuba’s northern coast. A narrow strip of land just 1.2 km across at its widest point, it is one of the largest resort areas in the Caribbean, offering 20 kilometers of white sandy beaches, sunny skies and crystal clear blue water.

Once a premier destination visited by glamorous Hollywood celebrities in the 1950s, the area re-emerged as an all-inclusive resort destination in the 1990s after the Cuban government began promoting international tourism. And it currently attracts the lion’s share of Cuba’s travel clients. Out of the 4.7 million tourists who flocked to Cuba in 2017, one million visited Varadero.

But Varadero has an aging electrical grid and is facing challenges in meeting the electricity demands required to power the peninsula’s infrastructure, which includes more than 60 luxury hotels and resorts. To support Varadero’s tourism economy and to help cope with frequent storms, Cuba’s state electrical utility, Unión Eléctrica de Cuba (UNE) and Italian leading engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, CR Technology Systems are upgrading three air-insulated switchgear (AIS) substations.

Increasing reliability and resiliency

These substations will replace old and bulky AIS with ABB’s 145 kV high-voltage hybrid switchgear PASS (Plug and Switch System). PASS is a reliable technology that delivers all functions of a switchgear in a single module that can be easily configured and quickly energized. It is a robust solution to provide resiliency against storms compared to conventional AIS equipment as it uses a combination of air-insulated busbars and cable enclosures to connect to a more secure new underground electrical distribution systems.

"The collaboration between C.R. Technology Systems and ABB has been very successful in delivering a reliable and robust solution to the customer,” said Riccardo Rovelli, General Manager of CR Technology Systems. “Starting with mutual objectives and joint interests, the aim is to support our clients by focusing on our respective strengths. We are proud of our long and successful business collaboration with ABB."

“ABB’s PASS is the most widely installed high-voltage hybrid switchgear technology with more than 8,000 bays installed worldwide to ensure reliable power in various applications and environments. Its modular design enables highly customizable solutions and short manufacturing times, supported by a global service organization. We are delighted to provide this technology to help upgrade the power infrastructure in this tourist destination,” said Giandomenico Rivetti, Head of ABB’s High Voltage Business Unit within the Power Grids division.

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