SGRE beats rivals to take 1GW Turkish tender

TURKEY: A consortium composed of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) and Turkish firms elbowed-out seven other groups in the country's first Yeka tender with an aggressive bid of $0.0348/kWh.

Tight schedule… SGRE expects all turbines of its 1GW Turkish tender order to come online between 2019 and 2021. Contract stipulates 65% local content

SGRE, with Kalyon Enerji and Turkerler Holding, secured the right to implement 1GW in Turkish wind projects in Turkey's first Yeka auction in early August. 

Vestas, GE, Enercon, Nordex, Senvion, Goldwind and Ming Yang — which, in a consortium with Turkish construction company Ilk Insaat was the last competitor to exit the reverse auction in the 30th round — also participated in partnerships with Turkish companies.

The involvement of eight of the top-ten turbine manufacturers was seen as a sign of international investor interest in Turkey's wind-energy business, despite political tensions, in particular between Turkey and Germany, home to many of the turbine makers competing.

SGRE is controlled by German conglomerate Siemens, which traces its presence in Turkish territory back 160 years, while Enercon, Nordex and Senvion are headquartered in Germany. A manufacturing track record was one requisite for tender participation.

The tender, held by the Turkish energy ministry, was the first for wind energy under a new "renewable-energy designated-area" auction system for large-scale projects, known by its Turkish acronym Yeka.

This tender involved five predefined areas in central and west Turkey, with a focus on the west coast.

Construction conglomerate Kalyon was also part of the winning consortium for the inaugural 1GW Yeka solar tender in March, alongside South Korea's Hanwha Q Cells.

The 1GW wind contract will deliver a big boost to SGRE's market share in Turkey. In mid-2017 Turkish wind energy association data showed it ranking fifth, behind Nordex (now including Acciona), Vestas, Enercon and GE, with an 11.43% share, translating into 741MW of operating turbines.

The data also showed it gaining ground, matching Nordex with a 40% share — or about 323MW — of the 809MW of wind power currently under construction.

The tender was a "major success" for Turkey, believes Ian McGrath, a partner in the Istanbul office of law firm Dentons.

"Turkey gets big contracts and a great price for power, and does so in a transparent way," he said. Other benefits include a reduction in the country's major energy import dependence, and the build-up of a local wind-energy knowledge base and technology.

To meet tender specifications, SGRE will set up manufacturing and research and development facilities in Turkey in the next 21 months, with the vast majority of jobs set to be local hires. Turbines must also satisfy a 65% local content requirement.

Falling prices

The tender award price was well below the $0.070/kWh auction ceiling and the current feed-in tariff base price of $0.073/kWh. Lower prices are in line with international trends and developments in Turkey.

In July, developers bidding for 710MW of preliminary licences in Turkish grid-capacity auctions settled for negative prices for a majority of projects.

In practice, the price they receive for power on the market will be reduced by the amount of their negative bid.

While the current feed-in tariff is valid for ten years, the Yeka PPA lasts 15. However, it begins once the Yeka contract goes into force, covering the period when the turbine factory is being built and wind farms constructed, an incentive for the winning bidder to move quickly.

Power is likely to be bought at the contracted price for about 12-13 years, expects Ceren Su, a lawyer at Turkish firm Baseak.

Turkey had 6,484MW of installed wind capacity at mid-2017, up 378MW from the end of 2016.

Turkey's 2015 national renewable energy action plan gives a 2023 target of 23GW in wind capacity, still the most widely cited objective, although many observers see it as unachievable.

The country's submission for the 2015 COP21 talks in Paris laid out a perhaps overly conservative goal of 16GW by 2030.

Fast delivery

SGRE sees the first turbine orders for individual Yeka wind farms within a year, after a 90-day period in which many project details will be defined, with the first turbines connected to the grid in 2019. Kalyon has said it expects the last ones to begin operating in 2021.

Meanwhile, the success of the first Yeka wind tender means a repeat is likely to be relatively soon. "This is a more efficient way of hitting targets, and we've seen there's market appetite from quality players in both solar and wind," said McGrath.