Turkey vows to invest heavily in infrastructure to thwart recurrence of blackouts

Turkey vows to invest heavily in infrastructure to thwart recurrence of blackouts

Neşe Karanfil - ANKARA
Turkey vows to invest heavily in infrastructure to thwart recurrence of blackouts

AA photo

Poor infrastructure is to blame for recent electricity cuts across Turkey, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak has said, noting that the government would modernize over 85 percent of the infrastructure for 18 billion Turkish Liras.

The minister said the outmoded and inefficient physical infrastructure had played a huge role in triggering power cuts across Turkey, according to sources. 

Some 85 percent of the country’s electricity infrastructure will be modernized in the next five years for around 18 billion liras ($6 billion) in investment. 

Albayrak also said a three-legged mechanism, to be composed of the Energy Ministry, the Turkish Electricity Distribution Company (TEDAŞ) and the energy watchdog, EPDK, will monitor and oversee the investments. 

Turkey suffered a massive blackout in March 2015 that hampered production and transportation across Turkey, costing the country $700 million, according to experts. 

Raising gas storage capacity

The minister said the government was pursuing three massive projects in a bid to increase the country’s gas storage capacity. The capacity of the existing facility in the northwestern district of Silivri is slated to increase from 2.6 billion cubic meters (bcm) to 4.3 bcm. 

Elsewhere the Tuz Gölü underground gas storage facility, which is located in an underground salt formation close to the salt lake of the same name in central Turkey, will have a storage capacity of about 960 million cubic meters of working gas and 460 million cubic meters of cushion gas (the portion of gas which is required to remain in the cavern to maintain its integrity) upon completion. 

A new liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility will also be built in the country.

Albayrak also said raising safety and health standards would be the main priority in Turkey’s mines. 

Turkey saw two disastrous mine accidents in 2014. Some 301 miners died at a mine in Soma in May 2014 in the worst ever industrial accident in Turkish history. Just six months after the disaster, 18 miners died at a facility in the Central Anatolian district of Ermenek after an underground flood, drawing the country’s focus back to the perilous safety conditions of mine workers.

Çalık resumes power plant project in Libya

Turkey’s Çalık Enerji, a subsidiary of Çalık Holding in the energy sector, announced it has resumed field activities at a power plant project in Libya as of Jan. 7, in a written statement to the Public Disclosure Platform. 

“Our field projects, which were halted in the ‘Khoms Project’ on March 9, 2015, temporarily, have restarted as of Jan. 7 this year,” said the company on late Jan. 7. 

The company canceled work in the field due to escalating security concerns and risks in Libya last March. 
Çalık Enerji signed a contract in January 2014 to construct a cycle plant with a capacity of 542 megawatts (MW) at Al-Khoms, which is 120 kilometers from the capital Tripoli.

The project was announced to reach some 8 percent of the total installed power of Libya, according to a press release by the company in 2014. Around 800 people were also planned to be employed in the construction project. 

Libya has been hit hard by power outages as fighting between rival factions damaged plants, interrupted the grid and made the import of spare parts more difficult.

A delegation from Tripoli visited Turkey in August 2015 for talks with Turkish companies to discuss security measures so they can return to Libya, Ayad Suleiman al-Ghnaidi, the acting executive manager of state power firm GECOL, had told Reuters in Tripoli.

“Hopefully there will be good results,” he said, as quoted by Reuters last year, without giving the names of the Turkish firms.

Turkish and Western firms that used to import spare parts and help with power generation in Libya have largely left the country due to the poor security.