Turkey gives go-ahead for first large-scale wind plants

Nov. 14, 2000à‚–Turkish officials have signed implementation agreements with Cannon, a U.S. wind energy developer, for wind projects totaling 185 MW.

The projects are part of a first phase of utility-scale wind energy development totaling 350 MW, and will be followed by another wave of wind power development spurred by a renewable energy tender issued in April by the Turkish government.

“This has been a real test of patience,” said Gerry Monkhouse of Cannon. “I think we are viewed over there as the guys who pushed wind power the hardest, so we’re pretty happy.”

Cannon targeted Turkey in 1994 as one of several countries with long-term potential for the development of large-scale wind power. In 1997, after three years of preparation, Cannon’s proposed projects were dealt a severe setback when Turkish courts ruled that the “Build, Own and Transfer” (BOT) law on which the proposals were structured was unconstitutional. The projects were successfully renegotiated following the adoption of a new law in August of this year. Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Cumhur Ersumer, noted at a wind energy symposium this month that wind energy is both inexpensive and environmentally friendly, and that Turkey has a rich potential for wind energy.

The first of Cannon’s projects is located on the cliffs of the Dardanelles straits, west of Istanbul, and will have a generating capacity of 65 MW. “The turbines will be the first thing you see as you sail by,” said Monkhouse. The other two, with a combined generating capacity of 120 MW, are in the Cesme area, not far from the city of Ismir. Construction at all three sites will begin after the end of the year and is expected to be completed by the end of 2001. The projects are well received, said Monkhouse, and will provide construction and O&M jobs for local qualified labor.

Cannon is using Vestas turbines for its first three projects, which allows it to qualify for export-credit financing from the Danish export credit agency. Cannon will employ NEG Micon turbines for its next round of projects, which will total “a couple of hundred megawatts” according to Monkhouse and which have been approved under the tender issued in April. Cannon is the only U.S. group among the growing number of wind energy companies active in Turkey.

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