A two-decade fuel shortage turned the island into a laboratory for
energy conservation. Education plays a key role in helping the economy function.
Text and photos by MARIO ALBERTO ARRASTÍA AVILA | Cubaenergía
with LAURIE GUEVARA-STONE | Solar Energy International
Mario Alberto Arrastía Avila holds a degree in
education from the Pedagogical University of
Havana in Cuba. He is an energy specialist at
Cubaenergía, the Center for Information
Management and Energy Development in Havana.
Laurie Guevara-Stone is the international program
manager for Solar Energy International in Carbondale, Colo. solarenergy.org
Before 1989, Cuba traded sugar for oil on
very reasonable terms with the Soviet
Union. Beginning in 1989, with the fall
of the Soviet Union, the island nation was forced
to buy oil on the open market. Imports from
Russia dropped by 50 percent, and oil consumption dropped 20 percent, from 225,000 barrels
a day in 1989 to 180,000 barrels a day in 1992.
Transport was hit hard, along with electric generation. The United States also tightened its
A billboard in Pinar del Rio says, “A Revolution
with Energy: Saving more we will have more.”