Cuba plans to build a $60 million power plant fueled by sugarcane residue, marking the island's first foray into electricity generation using biofuel, the official Prensa Latina news agency reported.

The plant will be built with Chinese technology and technical support.

Construction of the 20 MW power plant will begin at the end of this year at a sugar refinery in the western province of Matanzas, Prensa Latina said.

The power plant will burn the sugarcane residue known as "bagazo," but other wood residues could be used as fuel in the future.

"This will be the first bioelectric power plant of its type operating in Cuba and the specialists who will be responsible for running it traveled to China for training," Prensa Latina said.

Large quantities of sugarcane residue are incinerated in Matanzas and the power plant will use this material to produce renewable energy, "providing economic and environmental advantages," the news agency said.

The Cuban government has expressed an interest in recent years in increasing electricity production from renewable sources, such as wood and sugarcane biomass, solar, wind and hydraulic sources.

Only 3.8 percent of the electricity generated in Cuba currently comes from renewable sources, but the island hopes to increase this figure to 12 percent over the next eight years, officials said. EFE