- Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has issued a notice to speed up mainly local coal activities, published in the Official Gazette on Feb. 24. A board to monitor and coordinate energy investments in these areas has also be opened in line with the notice.
The government had previously defined the acceleration in the use of renewable energy and local coal reserves as a top priority in its 10th development plan, the notice stated.
“The Monitoring and Coordination Board for Energy Investments was established to monitor, to control and to coordinate the authorization processes for the investments by the public sector or private enterprises in the energy sector, and to accelerate each investment process in all power generation and distribution facilities, which will be built by the private sector through new royalty tenders in the lignite fields” said the notice.
At least one general manager or vice president from the Ministry of Environment and Urban Affairs, the Economy Ministry, the Development Ministry and the Culture and Tourism Ministry, as well as the treasury, the general directorate of state hydraulic works, the investment and promotion agency of the Prime Ministry and the energy watchdog, Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK), will be present in the board, which will be headed by the undersecretary of the Energy Ministry.
According to the 2016 Budget Presentation of the Energy Ministry, Turkey can save around $7.2 billion from its annual energy bill as long as the country's coal reserves are fully realized.
According to the “Action Plan for the Energy Production Program on Local Resources,” which was announced at the end of 2014, and the Energy Ministry's fresh budget plan, the lignite fields will be transferred to the private sector. Thermal power plants will also be built in several fields, which have rich lignite resources, including the Afşin-Elbistan area. Tenders are planned to build new facilities in these fields in the upcoming period through a specially-designed financing model. The publicly-owned thermal plants are also planned to be rehabilitated, according to the action programs. Turkey will extract coal both within the country and abroad, according to the action plan. Coal reserves' power generation capacity will increase from 43 billion kWh annually to 57 billion kWh by the end of 2016, according to the government's designs.