ERSU ABLAK > Clean energy technologies vs MENA leaders

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There is a gold rush for clean energy technologies all over the world except in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The leaders in the region have a different political agenda than energizing their countries with renewable sources. They are lusting for either cheap coal energy or nuclear energy. The Turkish Ministry of Energy declared that the country’s untapped coal resources will be used to produce energy. We know that the ministry is doing all it can to build a nuclear reactor somewhere near the Aegean Sea. I recently learned that Turkey is not the only MENA country to lust for a reactor. Kalem Journal - Nuclear Energy Insider recently reported that the MENA’s nuclear energy construction sector would experience a boom in the near future, with $300 billion worth of upcoming contracts to be offered to investors.

KEPCO, a Korean energy firm, was the first of a growing number of companies to invest in the MENA. In 2009, KEPCO won a contract to build four nuclear plants in the U.A.E. and has recently announced that it will negotiate a contract with the U.A.E. to build another four plants. Other countries in the region have followed suit like Saudi Arabia’s KA CARE, which remains the most promising project in the region with 16 new nuclear units to be secured. Since 2010, Jordan has been working on a single 1000 MW unit project. The sector’s main actors are expecting the contracts to be made public shortly.

In the meantime Japan is trying to find ways to get rid of all of its nuclear facilities, Germany had already made a pledge and many other countries are following their footsteps. This year’s World Gas Conference is about the role of natural gas in “sustaining future global growth,” which is certainly appropriate. For at no time in the history of the energy industry has natural gas been poised to play a more important role in the global energy picture. Japan is investing heavily to lock in LNG supplies to replace its nuclear generating capacity. Strong demand growth is possible in part because global liquefaction capacity has increased by around 40 percent over the past three years. Peter Voser, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell says that “The natural gas revolution offers the best, most promising opportunity we have today to make substantial, immediate progress toward a more sustainable energy supply. Gas is the fuel for development. Its supply is diverse, secure and abundant.”

It is easy to understand that Turkey is trying to reduce its dependence on foreign countries in energy production. One of the greatest reasons that Turkey is wrestling with the trade deficit is imported energy resources. However the government has the responsibility to create a more sustainable future as well as creating results for the short term.

The lure of nuclear power is too great for ambitious politicians, but I believe that in countries where there is a strong network of NGOs like Turkey, the authorities will have to think thrice before deciding to go down the nuclear or the coal path.


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Blue Dotterel

6/14/2012 11:42:58 AM

All the AKP's policies are based on the myth of perpetual growth pushed by ideological capitalists. Nuclear energy is being rejected in the developed world, but the nuclear industry needs profits, needs to grow - thank you Turkey. Erdogan equates economic growth with population growth which is one reason he pushes more children. What Turkey needs is no growth economics with no growth population, and a focus on renewable energy sources and increased energy efficiency.

Blue Dotterel

6/14/2012 10:47:36 AM

Turkey does not have the fuel for a nuclear reactor. It will have to import it. Turkey has enormous advantages over other countries in solar and wind energy, and significant sources of geothermal power, but rather than develop and invest in Turkish companies developing these sources, it prefers to make the country more dependent on foreign energy technology and sources. When will the Turkish people wake up and realize that their "leaders" are not working for Turkey, but against its interests.

dogan kemal ileri

6/14/2012 4:52:58 AM

Energy production via the nuclear route is a must for Turkiye because it further elevates Turkish industrial knowledge and allows also research and development.Turkiye has and continues to develop at an amzing pace with both industry and agriculture so it is only in the realm of hi-technology that it can aspire to expand into.Turkiye must not waste any more time to grasp the rewards of hi-technology and be able to develop into the top ten nations before 2023 our centenary of the Turkish Republic
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