Cheapest electricity is the saved one
The same reply comes whenever we ask why we need so many coal mines, so many hydroelectric power plants (HES) and so many thermic power plants: “We need a lot of energy.”
However, experts argue that Turkey’s electric power supply is by far adequate for its population of 77 million. But we have sectors that absorb energy, such as steel-iron, cement, construction ceramics, etc.…
It is as if no industrial policies have been made; no one has any intention to do so either. Only the notion of “wherever we find coal, let’s burn it; wherever we find flowing water, let’s put 10 handcuffs on it, let’s produce electricity.”
Unless we organize our industry correctly, unless we make a revolutionary transformation, the country’s people, resources, soil, water and coal will not last…
There are also theories that those continuously built thermics, HES’s and the nuclear power plants to be built are not only for us. These theories do not look so ridiculous when we question why we continue to build new power plants while our electricity demand does not increase, why we do not avoid energy-intensive sectors, why nobody is talking about saving. Perhaps we are going to produce electricity to sell to the world.
Is our target to take the creeks of the Black Sea from the hands of grannies and become the electricity producer of the world? To excavate coal and build power plants to such an extent that there will be no human beings, creek or nature left…
For instance, we built the Ermenek Dam and its HES 5 kilometers away from the coal mine where the last disaster happened. We elevated its underground water 90 meters for 100 megawatt electricity.
Geology engineer Tahir Öngür explains the disaster in Karaman as such, in association with this dam:
“We built the dam with foreign credit. We bought their equipment and heavy machinery. We have turned ourselves into a market. If you draw water from underground, water comes out from the opposite place. When you build a dam here, you create pressure in one side; that dam feeds water around it. Besides, the formation here is suitable for flow. There are many old mines around. The old mines have obviously been filled with water. Workers have worked in holes in the middle of old galleries which were filled with water. That water level should have been lowered beforehand. If you do not control that water, it will come pouring out at one point.”
The underground water should have been drained beforehand. Two wells could have been dug at two sides and the water levels could have been lowered. But, what has happened? An omnibus bill passed. Mines were closed. They were not run for two to three months. Then coal started to be excavated again with a small number of workers. We are facing a security void, in the real sense. It is a fiasco both as a system and as an engineering system.
They built a dam at one side, and on the other side, coal is being dug by managements that are independent of each other, that do not support each other, that do not share their security. The coal that was dug leaving many dead behind will be burnt somewhere. Then numerous cancer cases will erupt with the residuals released to the air; these cases will not make their way to the news.
Here we have a serious issue in development. The international capitalist system has a way of using a market. Obviously, we have volunteered to become one. Meanwhile, engineering has only worked as its pawn. Nobody has stood up to say anything.
The Cabinet Minister who signed the memory book while opening the dam should have told the General Directorate of Mining Affairs in charge of coal management, “Be especially careful about operating projects.”
Our energy policies have to be put in order. And meanwhile, we should not forget that the cheapest electricity is the one that has been saved. Otherwise we will see many other Soma disasters and many other Karaman disasters.