India offers line of credit to Cuba for renewable energy projsHAVANA, Cuba: India has offered Cuba lines of credit and expertise for developing renewable energy projects, as the Caribbean nation seeks to diversify energy mix for reducing its dependence on oil imports.

The offer was extended during meetings between visiting Minister of New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah and Cuban leaders here. Both the countries have agreed to enhance their cooperation in the renewable energy sector.

Abdullah, who heading a high-level delegation of experts to explore greater opportunities for cooperation between the two sides, had meetings with Cuban Vice President Marino Murillo and Cuban Minister of Energy and Mines Alfredo Lopez Valdes.

“He (Abdullah) offered India’s support and expertise in setting up renewable projects as well as in capacity building and project preparation,” according to an official statement.

“He also urged the Cuban side to take advantage of the Lines of Credit offered by India in setting up renewable energy projects,” it said.

The statement, however, did not give details of how much line of credit (LoC) India has offered to Cuba for setting up renewable energy projects.

“They (the Cuban leaders) informed Abdullah of Cuba’s strong desire to diversify its energy mix by exploiting its renewable energy resources, especially in wind and bagasse-based cogeneration projects,” it said.

Abdullah also briefed them on the energy situation in India and its plans in renewable energy. He explained that India currently has over 29 GW of grid-connected installed capacity using renewable sources of energy and it plans to add over 30 GW capacity by 2017.

He also spoke on the success of India’s wind program as well as the significant cost reductions in solar energy through the Jawahar Lal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM).

Abdullah recalled India’s long standing and traditionally warm relations with Cuba and said New Delhi has always supported the Cuban nation and its people.

His meeting follows a trip to Santiago, Chile last week, where the two countries had agreed to enhance cooperation on renewable energy projects.

Earlier, Abdullah also visited the local polyclinic to understand first-hand the health systems and had detailed discussions there, the statement said.-PTI