TBY talks to Halil Alış, General Manager of EÜAŞ, on Turkey's electricity generation capacity, investment opportunities, and the country's nuclear ambitions.

Halil Alış
Halil Alış was born in 1980 and graduated from the Elazığ State Engineering and Architecture Academy. In 2003 he became the Assistant General Manager and Member of the Board of EÜAŞ, and later became the General Manager and Chairman of the Board in 2010.

How has Turkey's electricity generating capacity evolved since the restructuring process in 1994?

In addition to key legislative changes, Turkey installed several thermal, hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, and biomass power plants between 1994 and 2011. Installed capacity has increased by about 154% since 1994. While electricity generation was 78,321 MW in 1994, and we generated 228,431 MW by the end of 2011.

How is EÜAŞ planning to meet demand through domestic production?

EÜAŞ rehabilitates every existing power plant periodically after considering the technological developments in the energy sector. Furthermore, operations aimed at increasing our installed capacity are in progress, especially in terms of thermal power plants.

How important is renewable energy to Turkey's long-term power needs?

The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources is carrying out the required studies in order to use the crucial potential of our resources in electricity generation according to a schedule. Turkey needs to take many steps to comply with the global renewable energy vision and to move into a future where the need for energy is met by renewable resources. These steps will increase financial competitive power and secure the simultaneous growth of renewable energy resources, as well as facilitate administrative processes to connect the resources to the grid and eliminate barriers. The main objective regarding renewable energy resources is to increase the share of these resources in electricity generation to at least 30% by 2023.

What are the opportunities for international investment in Turkey's electricity sector?

According to the projections of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Turkey's energy need increases by 6%-8% annually. The demand for electricity by 2020 is estimated to reach 500 billion kWh, which requires a new power plant of 3,000 MW to 4,000 MW every year for electricity generation and an investment of about $5 billion. The investment required to meet this demand is estimated to be $130 billion. Turkey is projected to have an electricity generation market worth $35 billion, an oil market of $40 billion, and a natural gas market of $10 billion.

What is the anticipated impact from the privatization of Turkey's electricity sector?

The privatization of the electricity market has been introduced to create a competitive market, increase the efficiency in electricity generation and distribution sectors, promote the investments required for long-term supply security, and reduce the role of public companies in the market.

What role will EÜAŞ play in Turkey's nuclear power ambitions? What will be the impact of EÜAŞ's memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Canadian company Candu Energy?

According to the legislation regarding nuclear energy generation plants, our company will acquire licenses and permissions for a construction site, as well as carry out construction and operations. EÜAŞ will also make regional and/or bilateral international agreements regarding nuclear plant construction and operation with the countries from which the fuel and technology will be transferred. Moreover, the company will take steps to renew these agreements and carry out the tasks described in the agreements. Negotiations with other potential countries to construct a second nuclear power plant at the Sinop site have been going on since 2010. The Sinop project is being considered as an infrastructure development project. EÜAŞ, as a public utility, is expected to be a major shareholder of the project and will be responsible for the operation of the plant. Therefore, we participate in the negotiations and pre-feasibility studies with nominated countries and companies. In this regard, EÜAŞ has signed a cooperation framework agreement with Candu Energy for the purpose of constructing, operating and decommissioning nuclear power plants at the Sinop site. According to the agreement, EÜAŞ and Candu Energy will perform a feasibility study, which will include items such as site development, the legal and regulatory framework, financing, human resources development, Enhanced Candu-6 Technology, and nuclear waste management. The parties are then expected to sign an intergovernmental agreement for the realization of the project, according to the results of the feasibility study.

To what extent is there potential for investment in electricity distribution in Turkey?

Distribution investments are required in parallel with the rapidly increasing generation investments. Regional distribution companies generally carry out investments, which must be realized rapidly as a result of the developments in the renewable energy sector.

What is your outlook for energy production and distribution in Turkey in the medium term?

The necessary work is being carried out to build power plants that make use of domestic natural, renewable, and nuclear resources to satisfy the country's demand. Commissioning these power plants and solving the issues concerning the national grid is our first priority.