The death on 25 November of Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro could spark the use of fallow land to grow crops to produce biofuels such as ethanol, according to Reuters.
Castro branded the use of food crops to produce ethanol "a sinister idea" that would result in millions more humans dying of "thirst and starvation", the report said.
The country currently produced 96% of its energy with fossil fuels, around 60% of which was imported. But its development plans called for 24% of energy needs to be produced from wind, solar and biofuels by 2030 in partnership with foreign investors, Reuters said.
Cuba burnt a sugar byproduct for fuel but not the more energy-rich sugarcane cellulose.
Frank Corisini, chairman and chief executive of Give Global Energy, which operates alternative energy projects, said in the Reuters report that he had discussed wind, solar and biofuels with Cuban officials in May and told them the plan would not work without operating 365 days a year, and that they would have to grow some product, preferably sweet sorghum, for that.
Plinio Nastari, the chief sugar and ethanol analyst at São Paulo-based Datagro consultancy added that ethanol production would make total sense for Cuba, which had favourable conditions to grow more sugarcane.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a Bloomberg report that Cuba had the potential to boost exports of coffee, honey, ethanol, rum and tobacco products. It was also a significant market for food imports and agricultural equipment.
Analysts said a lot would depend on the policies of US president-elect Donald Trump. There had been a gradual thawing of diplomatic and economic ties between the USA and Cuba in the past two years but Trump had threatened on Twitter that he would end this if Cuba was “unwilling to make a better deal” for citizens in both countries, the Bloomberg report said.