Yıldız: GE to play important role in achieving energy goals
General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt (L) and Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız (R) seen at a meeting held in Ankara on Thursday, Sept. 26. (Photo: Today's Zaman)
General Electric (GE) will play an important role in Turkey achieving its energy-related goals and the finalization of its energy projects, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said on Thursday.
During a press meeting with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Yıldız stated that GE was the biggest shareholder and contributor when Turkey's first bulb factory was opened in 1948 and said that GE will continue to be part of the sustainability of the change and development in the energy sector of Turkey. “In accordance with the new conditions in Turkey, we are at a phase of implementing energy-saving LED systems and other equipment and we have given GE a pilot zone in regards to the issue. We have achieved a 45 percent energy saving during the pilot program, which has strengthened the mutual trust between both sides,” he added.
According to Yıldız, the main purpose of the meeting was further cooperation in the field of energy. While underlining the significance of wind energy within Turkey's renewable energy projects, Yıldız explained that “wind energy is very important as we have formed a system where 5.7 billion kilowatts of electricity per hour is produced. But it is not enough and we might develop a new system with GE.”
Responding to questions about whether GE will invest in Turkey, Yıldız said: “We have TL 1.2 billion [$600 million] worth of operational costs related to street lightening and we need to take steps to increase energy savings. However, such investments require big companies to take part and we will talk about it today.”
He continued by saying that the Turkish government has emphasized these investments should be towards local production and international companies such as GE have agreed to that.
Meanwhile, Immelt commented that energy investments in Turkey are of significant importance for the company and stated that he cannot wait to discuss projects related to windmills, gas turbines and LED bulbs.
He stated that GE has a notable history regarding its presence in Turkey and that energy investments in Turkey are one of the leading focus areas for GE. Immelt also referred to GE's commitment to Turkey to make $900 million worth of investments in the country, adding the company will stick to its promises. “We expect to continue our investments in Turkey as planned. We have some notices to be released but they will be announced later.”
In June of last year, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan announced that GE would invest $900 million in Turkey -- in sectors such as aviation, energy, health, transportation and infrastructure -- over the next three years following a meeting with GE Vice Chairman John Rice. Çağlayan said that the company would be able to benefit from a wide range of incentives offered to investors to boost local production.
GE, also known as General Elektrik A.Ş. in Turkey, is expected to manufacture turbines and parts. In addition, Turkey's Locomotive and Engine Industry Corporation (TÜLOMSAŞ) and GE currently jointly manufacture high-tech locomotives in Eskişehir.