TBY talks to Halil Alış, General Manager of EÜAŞ, on growing electricity demands in Turkey, the role of privatization, and the company's role in meeting national targets.

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.

What steps is the Electricity Generation Company (EÜAŞ) taking to ensure that Turkey meets its electricity demand as the country continues to grow rapidly?

According to the high demand scenario of the 10-year generation capacity projection prepared by the Turkish Electricity Transmission Company (TEİAŞ) for the period between 2012 and 2021, electricity energy demand is forecasted to reach 467.3 billion kWh by 2021 in Turkey. EÜAŞ is within the scope of privatization, and so works are underway in order to privatize all the thermal power plants of EÜAŞ as quickly as possible. Also, all power plant investments to be made by EÜAŞ are now subject to the decision of the Council of Ministers. For these reasons, EÜAŞ's share of electricity generation in Turkey has declined in recent years and is expected to decline even more by 2021.

How will EÜAŞ play a part in the government's goal of generating 30% of Turkey's electricity from coal by 2023?

Turkey's objectives for energy resource usage in 2023 were set out in the Electric Energy Market and Demand Supply Security Strategy Paper dated May 21, 2009. It stated that all known lignite and hard coal resources will be put to use for generating electricity by 2013. It is targeted to increase the share of nuclear power plants in generation to at least 5% by 2020, with an aim to further increase their share in the long term. There is also a plan to make use of all the technically and economically available hydroelectric potential in electricity energy generation. The installed capacity of wind energy will also be increased up to 20,000 MW by 2023. The paper projects the commissioning of all our geothermal potential of 600 MW as well. We will ensure the maximum utilization of solar power potential too. With the increase in the utilization of other renewable resources, the share of fossil fuels, especially imported resources, will be reduced. As a result of these measures for the use of domestic and renewable energy resources, we are expected to reduce the share of natural gas in electricity generation to below 30%. The Afşin-Elbistan, Çayırhan, Tekirdağ-Çerkezköy, and Karapınar lignite fields of EÜAŞ have the capacity to establish a thermal power plant with an installed capacity of 17,595 MW. In order to establish these power plants, a public-private sector investment model has to be established. I believe EÜAŞ will again play a major role in Turkish electricity generation if the capacity of 17,595 MW is achieved.

How would you characterize the opportunities for international investment in Turkey's energy sector?

Demand for electricity energy is rising rapidly. In order to meet this increasing demand, an increased installed capacity of 3,000-4,000 MW is required in addition to the existing installed capacity. The cost of these investments is about $7 billion-$8 billion annually. In this context, international investments are needed in the Turkish electricity generation sector.

How will renewable energy play a part in Turkey's energy generation strategy over the next decade?

Energy demand is increasing rapidly in Turkey, and the main objective of the energy policy is to meet this demand. In this context, a support mechanism has been constituted through legislative adjustments for electricity generation using renewable energy resources. I believe that wind, hydro, and solar power plants will play an active role within the next 10 years.

What role will privatization play in the continued development of Turkey's energy infrastructure over the next decade?

The main goal for the privatization of the power plants is to ensure a more efficient, economical, and uninterrupted generation of electricity while establishing a competitive market structure. Our target is to make huge contributions to the Turkish economy through commissioning both existing and new power plants in the private sector.

What trends do you foresee in Turkey's energy sector over the coming decade?

Turkey has huge renewable resource potential. In parallel with the 2023 objectives, I believe that wind will have the biggest share in terms of construction, efficiency, and investment cost among renewable energy power plants. Turkey also has rich lignite resources. I think new coal-fired thermal power plants will be established over the next 10 years in order to utilize our lignite potential of 12.7 billion tons.