Turkey set to relieve Gaza’s energy shortage with power ship
Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said at a news conference with his Palestinian counterpart, Omar Kittaneh, in Ankara, Aug 19. AA PhotoA Turkish firm is awaiting Israel’s approval to send a 100-megawatt (MW) floating power plant to Palestine, the Turkish energy minister has said, as Palestinians suffer from severe electricity shortages after Israeli attacks destroyed the territory’s energy infrastructure.
“Turkey will build power plants in Palestine in the long term, but as a quick solution, Turkey will send a 100-megawatt power-generating ship from Basra to Gaza offshore through the private sector in about two to three months,” Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said Aug. 19 at a news conference with his Palestinian counterpart, Omar Kittaneh, in Ankara, Anadolu Agency reported.
The minister said, however, that Israel should first lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip to allow power to be delivered to the city.
“This can only be realized if the blockade’s energy aspect is eased,” he said, noting that both the arrival of the ship and the delivery of 220,000 tons of fuel needed to be exempted from the country’s eight-year blockade on the Gaza Strip.
He said Palestine has spoken with Israel regarding the issue and had not received a negative answer.
The minister also said he believed “Israel’s attitude toward energy in Gaza will be different than its current position since having access to energy is a humanitarian issue.”
In the medium and long term Turkey is willing to help Palestine on the reconstruction of transmission lines, technical equipment, transmitters, transformer and poles as well as the creation of a master plan by lending engineering and material support, he said.
Kittaneh thanked Turkey for its support, saying they had been in touch with Turkish companies for short- and long-term solutions to solve energy problems.
He also said they asked Turkey to help soften Israel’s attitude regarding the issue and make a direct demand on Israel.
Israel’s month-long war against Hamas, during which it carried out airstrikes, artillery bombardments and ground operations in response to militant rocket fire and attacks via tunnels, left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead and wiped out vital infrastructure.
Eighty percent of the population has had electricity for only four hours a day since Gaza’s only power plant was disabled by two Israeli missiles that struck fuel tanks.
In addition to the destruction of its sole power plant, 10 different energy transmission lines coming from Israel have been bombed, entailing a total loss of 120 megawatts of energy for Gaza City, Yıldız said.
Turkey’s Karadeniz Holding, which develops and operates energy-generating ships, confirmed the Palestinian government has demanded support from the company.
“Palestine has made a request to one of Karadeniz Holding subsidiaries, Karkey, for the procurement of energy in order to meet the country’s urgent needs,” Karadeniz Holding Chairman Orhan Karadeniz said in a statement released a few hours after the minister’s announcement. “The project will be realized within the framework of a commercial agreement to be made with the Palestinian administration as part of other energy purchasing contracts.”
The company said it would take action after the necessary permission and approvals are received by all authorized international institutions, with the United Nations at the top.
“Following the completion of permission and approvals, within 120 days, a convenient power ship from our fleet will sail to the country,” Karadeniz said.
The technical and commercial negotiations were conducted during Kittaneh’s visit to Ankara, the company said.