Revving up efforts on energy tech, Turkey to mass-produce generators

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez on Wednesday said Turkey would soon begin the mass production of locally produced generators, the latest part of the country’s efforts to domestically develop crucial energy technologies.

At a workshop on the future of thermal power plants organized by the state-run Electricity Generation Company (EÜAŞ) in the capital Ankara, Dönmez commented on the position that thermal power plants have in providing the baseload capacity to ensure energy supply security.

Given that these plants have become important in the energy mix, Dönmez urged additional investments since other sources like natural gas plants can only operate with costly imports, while coal plants release large emissions.

The minister also stressed the importance of continuous renewable energy, energy efficiency and nuclear energy investments, as well as clean energy investments required for existing power plants to produce less emissions.

“Domestic resources are of critical importance in terms of reducing external dependence. Our power plants, which produce with domestic resources, are almost our safety insurance,” Dönmez noted.

In an environment where geopolitical tensions are constantly increasing and economic turmoil continues, he said Turkey has to use its own resources more.

“Our perspective on thermal power plants is also closely related to energy supply security,” he added.

Dönmez’s announcement of the plan for the mass production of generators comes after EUAS conducted research and development (R&D) activities to develop local and national energy technologies, which culminated in the production of the country’s first generator.

The minister also highlighted that Turkey has covered considerable ground in the localization of turbine and control systems, two other important components of electricity generation.

“We have finished our turbine designs. Soon, we will start to produce the first local turbine, and will then install it, along with the first mass-produced generator, at the Hasan Polatkan Hydroelectricity Power Plant situated on the Sakarya River,” he said.

The control systems for the power plants will also be locally produced from an electricity automation system (EOS) project and distributed to 20 power plants next year, eight of which are already using these systems.

“We hope to start a new era in hydroelectricity plants where the source equipment and the technology will be ours, thanks to our locally-produced automation system, generator, and turbine at the Hasan Polatkan Hydroelectricity Power Plant,” he added.

Turkey has considerably diversified its energy mix over the last decade, particularly through the expansion of renewable generation capacity.

It imports nearly all its energy needs, which leaves it vulnerable to soaring prices. Its natural gas consumption set a new record in 2021 of approximately 59 billion cubic meters (bcm).

The country invested some 1 billion euros (around $1.05 billion) in new wind energy capacity alone throughout 2021, according to Europe’s wind power trade association, WindEurope.

Turkey has prioritized the security of its energy supply as one of the central pillars of its energy strategy, leading to efforts to boost investments in the clean energy sector.

Its overall energy capacity surpassed 100,000 megawatts as of the end of March this year. The share of the renewable energy resources in the total installed capacity has reached more than 50%.

The country has managed to save $7 billion in the last 12 months as its wind and solar power generation helped replace fossil fuel imports, lowering electricity bills at a time when gas prices skyrocketed globally, according to a report released by London-based think tank Ember on Tuesday.

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