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Turkey

Turkey

Analysis: Turkish law change endangers 22 projects

TURKEY: Turkey's energy market regulator has said wind project licences to investors wanting to enter the wind energy market will be recalled unless project construction begins by May 2014.

The 2 May deadline set by the Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Authority is based on an electricity market law passed last year.

Speaking to a local news agency, Turkish Wind Energy Association chairman Mustafa Serdar Ataseven, said that this decision could lead to the cancellation of up to 22 projects.

However, some of these projects have valid reasons to be delayed, Ataseven added. Many of them have been hampered by long legal procedures, and the regulator is now negotiating with the investors to help move things forward.

Coincidentally, the situation has arisen at the same time Turkish president Abdullah Gul is leading a delegation to Denmark to look at potential wind power link-ups.

Meanwhile, recently published data by Turkish state-owned electricity transmission company TEIAS show the country's electricity consumption rose by 78% over the past ten years, from 131.9TWh in 2003 to 235TWh last year.

In 2014, TEIAS estimates the country will consume 256TWh of electricity. Turkey's energy minister, Taner Yildiz, said this increase is the result of the improvement of welfare in the country and that the country "will nearly double its electricity consumption to 450TWh by 2023".

It is certain that Turkey will need to upgrade its energy infrastructure and invest heavily in the power sector to feed its soaring energy needs and fill the supply gap. However, questions have been raised about the possible direction of investments.

Investments

Yildiz said the ministry plans to invest in cities such as Istanbul, where electricity consumption is higher, and that the country will need new investments in nuclear and coal plants, along with investments in renewable energy projects. Wind power is expected to account for 20GW of the country’s plans for 120GW of newly installed power capacity by 2023, said the Turkish Investment Agency.

In an effort to provide answers to its energy needs, Turkey is also looks towards the neighbouring countries of Romania and Bulgaria.

The Turkish energy minister recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Bucharest between TEIAS and Romanian electricity transmission company Transelectrika aiming to construct 1GW of capacity and a 450-kilometre-long offshore electricity line connecting the two countries. The results of the feasibility study are expected in November.

There are also plans for a second 1.8GW electricity transmission line to be built between Romania and Bulgaria aiming to transfer power from Romania to Turkey via Bulgaria, which is currently Turkey’s top electricity provider.

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