Turkey’s coal available to ‘serious’ investors free for 30 years

June 25, 2012, Monday/ 17:10:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız announced on Monday that Turkey’s coal will be given to serious investors free of charge for 30 years if they use it for power generation.

Yıldız attended a signing ceremony in Ankara for a leasing agreement for a 600 megawatt (MW) coal plant that is to be built in the Tufanbeyli district in the southern province of Adana, stating, “We will support serious investors for 30 years, but we will take back the rights from those that are not serious after six months.” He explained the coal will be given to investors for free, but speculators will only have six months time to prove that they are interested in business.

Expressing his pleasure concerning all investments related to the natural resources of the country, Yıldız said, “We can generate energy from natural gas, water, sun and wind. In particular, we find using coal more significant.” He noted large investments have been made in the energy sector in the last 10 years and commented: “Turkey’s economy grows more than the global economy. With this, energy sectors need to grow, leading to privatization and the liberalization of the markets.”

He explained that the plant in Tufanbeyli is a new model developed to produce power from coal and that those investors will have only six months to show their commitment because Turkey does not have any time to lose. Stating that Turkey plans to reach about 18,000 MW using coal in addition to continuing investments in nuclear and renewable energy production, he announced a tender will take place in August in the Soma district of Manisa, which will be similar to the plant in Tufanbeyli, adding the plant would be completed in four to five years, and its construction would be closely monitored.

In addition, Turkish Coal Enterprises (TKİ) President Mustafa Aktaş said all kinds of support would be provided to investors in coal and bureaucratic limitations would be lifted. In addition, he promised tenders for production of power using coal would take place every two to three months.

Meanwhile, also at the ceremony, TEYO Yatırım ve Dış Ticaret A.Ş. CEO Ferudun Korkmaz, whose firm is investing in the Tufanbeyli plant, disclosed that $1.2 billion would be invested in the project and that it would be completed in six years. He informed the participants that the plant is targeted to produce $3.6 billion kilowatts (kWh) of power, and TEYO will pay TKİ $50 million for the lease.

Furthermore, 2,000 people will be employed, and the use of coal will contribute to lessening Turkey’s current account deficit (CAD), which is mostly driven by energy imports. The Chinese partner of TEYO, Weiqu Energy Investments Co. Ltd., indicated that China believes Turkey is the country to invest in and more investments are on the way.

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