TBY Around one-half of Turkey’s installed generating capacity has been supplied by Alstom. What is behind the company’s strong presence here?
ADİL TEKİN When you examine the installed base capacity in Turkey, we have a huge presence. You can find key components supplied by Alstom over the last 60 years in more than 50% of Turkey’s generating facilities. When you look at our market share in hydropower, we are the leader in equipment and supply. You can also find key components supplied by Alstom in most coal-fired plants in Turkey. Those have been the main sources of energy dominating Turkish power generation and we are leading in these fields. The coal-fired facilities are now aging and need updating, and we will play a central role in this process.
Moving into the future, what are Alstom’s main targets?
We will remain big in the fields I have mentioned, but we have also recently moved into wind power as well and signed our first wind contract in Turkey. We have considerable targets for wind as we have for hydro. Turkey’s target is to have 20,000 MW of wind power by 2023 and we are planning to take a measured share
What is the current level of development in the renewable energy sector locally?
I think Turkey is on the right track. When you look at the installed basis on the generation side, more than 50% comes from combined-cycle facilities. The government is trying to diversify supply sources and is supporting hydro, wind, geothermal, and solar energy generation.
Can renewable energy sources play a realistic role in reducing Turkey’s reliance on imported energy over the medium term?
In the medium term yes, but in the long term I believe that with the growth of Turkey they are not the main solution. We will have to turn to nuclear energy. Turkey has to have a portfolio with a diverse range of generation facilities from gas to nuclear and all kinds of renewables. We cannot focus on one source and escape from the others—it is simply not sustainable.
Does Alstom hope to participate in the future development of a nuclear power facility in Turkey?
We are active in almost all projects. The government seems determined to sign a bilateral project with a foreign country, whether it be the Russians or the Koreans or another. We are currently not engaged in any talks to supply any specific project. We are following the negotiations closely and we will see if there is any opportunity for us or not.
How has the sell-off and liberalization of the Turkish generation and distribution grid helped in creating interest for your power generator products?
Privatization and liberalization are some of the main drivers in the market for us. It creates a market for equipment, as the new owner of a distribution grid wants to have their own equipment to generate and sell electricity to their consumers.
A deal was signed recently with Enerjisa to provide equipment for the Arkun hydropower plant. How significant was this contract?
It was highly significant for us and it was the second contract we have signed with this customer. Two years ago we made a three-project deal for 450 MW of generating facilities, and having this new deal shows the satisfaction of our client and the success of our equipment. We faced all the major players in the market on this bid, but the fantastic execution of our first contract really gave us the edge. Enerjisa is a strong private energy company. We have also worked with Sanko, Limak, and Bilgin, and continue to be a number one choice for many other private energy companies.
Where do you anticipate the most growth in the Turkish energy sector over the short term?
We predict another boom in the natural gas sector; hydropower will continue strongly like it has over the last five years. Wind will also see acceleration. We believe that we have the edge in the combined-cycle sector due to the technology we possess in sequential combustion. Our plan is also to have a measured share of the gas-fired market in the coming years, though this is a highly competitive area with companies such as Siemens involved. The government’s energy policy and strategy paper for 2023 shows that the target is to have a diverse range of energy resources. However, in the long term I believe gas will continue to play a major role in the future of Turkish energy.
How do you expect to see Turkish energy consumption figures change in the coming years?
According to our research, growth is between 5% and 7% on an annual basis. When you look at the last 25 years you see that it averages around 6.5% and 7%, and this will continue. GDP is increasing along much the same lines.
How does Turkey fit into Alstom’s worldwide plans?
We are benefitting from Turkey’s unique situation as a country with a rapidly developing economy and a young population. We have 1,000 people working for Alstom in Turkey and we are active in all sectors of the energy market. Alstom has its largest transformer factory in Gebze, and Turkey is among our top 15 countries in terms of investment.
Is it realistic to expect that Turkey will no longer be a net importer of energy?
Even if we consider that nuclear energy will begin to play a role in the 2020s, without the discovery of major new oil or gas resources within Turkey I see no possibility that the country can be self-sufficient in energy terms.
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