Energy rush to Central Anatolia

Energy rush to Central Anatolia

KONYA - Anatolia News Agency
Energy rush to Central Anatolia

Currently 57 companies, including foreign consortiums, have planted equipment on a 60 million-meter-square area in Konya’s Karapınar district to measure solar power efficiency at the region. AA photo

Energy producers are rushing to the Central Anatolian district of Karapınar in an effort to cash in on Turkey’s second largest coal reserves, as well as sunny fields that present ample opportunity for solar power.

Some 57 companies – most of them foreign consortiums – have already started queries on the 60 million-meter-square area that has designated as a special energy area by the government, Karapınar Mayor Mehmet Mugayıtoğlu recently told Anatolia news agency.

The district in Konya, which was once a source of migrants in the 1960s, is forging a future as an energy production hub of Turkey.

The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry announced in January that it had discovered 1.8 billion tons of lignite reserves in the province, enough to fuel a thermal power station generating 5,000 megawatts of electricity for 30 to 40 years.

Mugayıtoğlu said the studies to establish a power plant there were continuing.

“A coal power plant producing 4.8 million megawatts will be established under the build-operate model,” he said.

In March, Turkish officials said a Saudi firm had applied for the construction of a coal-fired power station in Karapınar and that they expected to see Turkish companies do so as well.

Solar power boom

The “sun fields project” is another important project slated for Karapınar, as the designated area is awaiting investors that could benefit from the abundant solar power sources in the region.

“Currently 57 companies have planted equipment on the land,” the mayor said, adding that preparations would continue until the end of June. Following the initial studies, work will begin on a license tender preparatory to a bidding process for the right to build the solar plant.

“Both the thermal power plant and the total amount of solar energy to be generated will account for 8 percent of Turkey’s current energy need,” Mugayıtoğlu said. Most of the actors interested in the field are foreign consortiums which are eager to have a share in the business and invest in Turkey, he added.

The huge investment in the region is expected to have an impact on social demographics as well, as the population of the district is also predicted to double within five years.

“Now, the population 33,000 and it is predicted to reach 60,00 in four to five years,” he said.

Turkey had previously signed a landmark deal with the United Arab Emirates to develop coal fields in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş’s Afşin-Elbistan neighborhood.