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Energy minister challenges pro-greens to not use energy

KAYSERİ- Hürriyet Daily News | 8/15/2010 12:00:00 AM | GÖKHAN KURTARAN

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız called on environmentalist groups which protest the government’s dam and nuclear power plant projects, not to use the energy production methods of which they do not approve.

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız last week called on environmentalist groups which protest the government’s dam and nuclear power plant projects not to use the energy production methods of which they do not approve.

“The ones who criticize our energy projects and object to them should not use our energy,” Yıldız said at the “Transition to Green Economy” meeting held in Kayseri Thursday, referring the criticisms raised by some civil society foundations on some damn and nuclear power plant projects around the country.

“We all want the world to stay green but at the same time we need to meet our energy demands to keep the growth of the country. There is a paradox in the essence of the matter,” he said. “For instance, we do not have the luxury of choosing to use only green energy and not supply electricity for four hours per day.”

In order to attain gross national product worth 1,000 euros, Turkey consumes 250 kilograms of petrol, while EU countries consume 185 kilograms of petrol to attain the same product, he said.

 “There are a couple of civil society foundations who keep criticizing us for our energy projects, such as nuclear plants, dams, etc. We will keep producing energy since the country’s demand is high. Oil and natural gas are still the top suppliers of the country’s energy needs,” the minister said. “The sources which are criticized harshly by some generate 35 percent of the energy supply of the country. The ones who criticize our energy projects and object to them should not use our energy, then.”

Recalling the constitutional referendum to be held on Sept. 12, Yıldız said, “We certainly say ‘yes’ to handing a cleaner world to our children.”

Yıldız also warned about “a set of crooks” that become license-holders to run a business on specific land and sell the rights of the license to another entrepreneur for high prices without making any investment on the land.

He said that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also backs enforcement to pursue those who operate in this way. He said, “Handing over the licenses without any added value for astronomical prices is unacceptable and blocks the way for real entrepreneurs.”

Replying to a question on why Turkey is so late to use alternative energy generating systems, Yıldız said, “Geothermal heat pumps or ground source heat pumps that pressure heat to or from the ground cost around $8,000 per house and the cost is still considerably high to apply,” adding, “Hopefully in the future.”

The Energy Efficiency Association, or ENVER, announced a report on “Turkey’s energy efficiency” at the meeting, with contributions from various leading business institutions such as the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, or TOBB, the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, or TİM, the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association, or MÜSİAD and the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association, or TÜSİAD.

According to the report, $30 billion of Turkey’s foreign trade deficit, worth $38 billion in total, derives from the import of energy in 2009. Turkey spent 30 percent of its $102 billion total income from last year’s exports to import energy to meet the increasing demand.

“Turkey was 20 years late to use coal energy but now we need to accelerate our competitiveness with alternative sources without wasting time; we need to have a transition to a green economy,” Dr. Murat Kasımoğlu commented in the report.

Noting the importance of producing in a nature-friendly way will be appreciated more and even increase the value of a company on the stock exchange, he said, “Turkey needs a motoring power, such as a Turkish Energy Researches and Appliance Institution, to be founded.”

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