The Race for Wind Power
|Tafline Laylin||May 13th 2013|
Turkeyâ€™s largest wind power plant has broken ground and is expected to generate enough clean energy to electrify up to 170,000 homes. Until now the countryâ€™s renewable energy program has lagged behind Europe and some Middle Eastern countries, with far too much emphasis placed on hydroelectricity and nuclear.
But now the government is pushing to harness its ubiquitous wind resource and the 143 MW wind farm in BalÄ±kesir is just the start. Last week energy Minister Taner YÄ±ldÄ±z announced the countryâ€™s intention to generate a total of 20,000 MW of wind energy by 2023.
The â‚¬153 million Bares plant is owned by Enerjisa, a joint venture between Turkeyâ€™s SabancÄ± Holding and Germanyâ€™s E.ON, and â‚¬135 million was funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), according to Hurriyet Daily.
â€œLast year when the EBRD invested in this brilliant wind farm, we knew which way the wind was blowing, said EBRD Director for Power and Energy Nandita Parshad. â€œThe energy that Bares starts producing today can provide clean electricity to about 170,000 households in Turkey, blowing away costly imported resources, enhancing Turkeyâ€™s energy security and bringing the country closer to its renewable energy targets.â€
YÄ±ldÄ±z also chimed in, adding that Turkeyâ€™s population growth has thus far outpaced its renewable energy investments. In order to bridge that gap, the entire energy infrastructure is undergoing a systemic overhaul.
At the commissioning ceremony, YÄ±ldÄ±z announced the energy ministryâ€™s plan to denationalize its entire distribution grid in order to pave the way for independent power producers. Tenders for privatization will be finalized around June or July, Hurriyet reports.
Other, smaller scale wind energy projects are in the pipeline as well. Mini RES, a series of 2.5 MW wind energy plants, will help to pad overall wind generation, bringing the total capacity to 20,000 MW in the next decade, said SabancÄ± Chairperson GÃ¼ler SabancÄ±.
Even so, Turkey is relentless in its pursuit for less responsible energy sources. Despite its vulnerability to earth quakes and resistance from academics and environmentalists, the country just inked a $22 billion deal with Japan to build its second nuclear plant.
And our own Julia Harte is currently charting the numerous environmental and social impacts wrought by the IlÄ±su Dam on the Tigris River with a National Geographic Young Explorer grant, which is just one of several hydroelectric plants that are wreaking havoc.
Turkeyâ€™s energy vision is inspired by desperation and economics, not environmental ethics; even so, weâ€™ll take what we can get and Bares is an important first step toward a more sustainable policy.
Tafline Laylin writes for Green Prophet, from where this article is adapted.