GE aims to turn Turkey into a wind turbine base

The Gökçedað wind power plant, which was set up by Zorlu Holding with an investment of 210 million euros, will start to operate at full capacity in the first quarter of the year.

Nearly 50 of the 54 turbines at the wind farm have been completed, according to Gökmen Topuz, assistant general manager of the investments department. “With 23 of these wind turbines we will produce the first 57.5 megawatts of electricity and transfer it to the national grid,” he said.

The wind turbines set up for the power plant are the largest in Turkey, according to Topuz. “Each wind turbine has the capacity to produce 2.5-megawatts of electricity. Each blade is 50 meters long and the torso of the turbine is as high as a 30-story building,” he said. “We aim to produce 500 million kilowatt-hours of energy each year.”

Aiming to supply equipment in Turkey, GE has launched a feasibility study

GE is watching for an increase of incentives and the launch of wind energy investments to implement its project. GE considers Europe as a growth zone, GE Energy Turkey Managing Director Mete Maltepe told business daily Referans. “Particularly, the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions are very attractive. It would be reasonable to have a supply base in the region to reduce transportation costs and Turkey is a good candidate for this. We are conducting feasibility studies concerning the use of Turkey as a supply base.”

Noting that GE also needs to evaluate costs for the plant, Maltepe said the market needs to mature with incentives. “Turkey is a large market. In order for the production to take place in Turkey, its market conditions should mature. Offering strong measures to wind energy will trigger the shift to production.”

Maltepe said renewable energy base tariffs should be amended and investments should increase. “If the Turkish market sees wind turbine investments of 1,500 to 3,000 megawatts annually, it may become attractive for suppliers to produce turbines here. And this may help reduce transportation costs.”

Turkey’s electricity consumption will increase each year following the global crisis, according to Maltepe. With the proper conditions, the goal should be to reach an installed wind power of 20,000 MW within 10 years, he said, adding that GE plans to exist in the market through partnerships with Turkish firms. GE has over 11,600 wind turbine installations with more than 18,000 MW of capacity worldwide.