Siemens mulls wind turbine blade production facility in Turkey

Germany’s Siemens AG, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of wind »»

Germany’s Siemens AG, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of wind turbines, may establish a wind tribune rotor blade production facility in Turkey provided that demand for wind energy in Turkish markets continues at its current pace, Siemens Turkey CEO Hüseyin Gelis told Today’s Zaman in Çanakkale on Monday.

With an estimated 150,000 megawatts in electricity generation potential from wind power, together with new legislation on the horizon, Turkey offers great opportunities to sell equipment, technology and expertise to such global players as American renewable energy developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES), Russia’s state nuclear unit Rosatom

Turkey has huge potential for wind power, with estimates ranging from 50,000 to as high as 150,000 megawatts in electricity generation. Such potential for wind energy, together with new legislation on the horizon, offers great opportunities for foreign investors interested in expanding into renewable energy markets of fast-growing economies such as Turkey.

Global players wanting to sell equipment, technology and expertise are also showing interest in the Turkish market. American renewable energy developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES), Russia’s state nuclear unit Rosatom, Hamburg-based REpower Systems AG and Denmark’s Vestas are the most recent examples. Most investors, however, are holding off their investments until legislative changes are approved by the Turkish Parliament, clarifying what government subsidies would be there in terms of price guarantees.

Turkey currently has 980 wind energy plants; 200 of them were deployed last year. Gelis says the demand for wind energy is on the rise in Turkey. Asked whether they have plans to establish a wind tribune rotor blade production facility in Turkey, he said they can source the blades relatively cheaper from abroad but would consider producing them in Turkey should the demand increase by as much as three times its current level. He declined to give details regarding a proposed location for the facility.

Only about 2,000 megawatts were generated by wind farms in operation in Turkey by the end of last year. The government’s 2023 vision proposes to have 20,000 megawatts of established wind turbines in the country. The European Wind Energy Association has estimated that Turkey could meet 20 percent of its electricity demand from wind power with a target capacity of 20,000 megawatts, assuming an average 8 percent annual growth in power consumption. Observers argue this means it will not take very long for companies like Siemens to establish production facilities in Turkey.

Sinan Budik, responsible for the renewable energy division at Siemens, says investments in wind energy are expected to continue in the coming years and the number of new wind turbines sold will exceed 400 in 2013. This means doubling the current demand for turbines in Turkey at the moment and Siemens meets 100 megawatts of this demand. There are tenders for operating licenses pending with a total volume of 8,000 megawatts. Gelis expects the tenders will be finalized over the next five years. He thinks the majority of licenses will be shared by only large companies.

Siemens Bank coming to Turkey

When it comes to diversifying investments in Turkey, Gelis said they intend to introduce Siemens Bank to Turkey in less than a year. Noting that they earlier met with Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) officials, Gelis said they will soon apply to receive an operating license for the bank and open the bank in a year. He said the bank will not provide individual banking services, instead focusing on project financing. Gelis says Siemens Bank can envision the benefits from the growth potential in the Turkish banking sector. He said Siemens will also start services in urban development and infrastructure projects in Turkey starting in October.

The world meets only 3 percent of its energy demand from renewable energy resources. Siemens’s Budik says the share of renewable energy resources in total energy consumption is anticipated to increase to 17 percent by 2030. He adds that half of this 17 percent share will be provided by wind energy. Noting that Turkey does need to build its own nuclear power plants to meet increasing energy demands and maintain strong growth in the economy, he says it is not a solution to escape nuclear energy but embrace it with advanced technology infrastructure. “Turkey has limited alternatives to nuclear power. … Renewable energy is important but we need to have a diverse energy portfolio,” he explained.