Turkish company Ateþçelik invests in wind power

Turkish company Ateþçelik, which produces a number of devices for power plants and other industrial equipment, is investing 30 million Turkish Liras for the production of wind turbine towers in the western province of Ýzmir.

The company will build a new factory on 70,000 square meters by December and intends to eventually be able to produce 100 wind towers a year as wind energy investments grow in the country.

With two companies already producing towers for wind turbines in Turkey, it is not profitable for foreign companies to bring massive towers to Turkey for their investments, especially in the southern and western coastal regions, Mahmut Güldoðan, vice chairman of Ateþçelik, told journalists Saturday.

“It is expected that Turkey’s tower needs for wind turbines will be around 1,000 units each year until 2023,” he told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

The demand is currently around 300-400 towers each year, Güldoðan said, adding that Ateþçelik aimed to meet one quarter of this demand for wind farm by next year.

“The new factory will not only meet the growing demand in Turkey but also in neighboring countries, such as Greece and Romania,” Güldoðan said.

Noting that there are no tower producers based in Greece, Romania and Bulgaria, he said Ateþçelik intended to export to those wind farm markets as well.

“Our factory in Aliaða stands between the most profitable locations for wind energy generation, such as Çanakkale, Balýkesir and Çeþme,” he said. “We have ongoing negotiations with five foreign companies, mainly from northern Europe, to sign a partnership agreement for our new investment in wind turbine towers.”

A possible partnership with a leading European wind turbines producer could pave the way for Ateþçelik to “meet the demand in the region with low cost of transportation and high quality,” according to Güldoðan.

With an annual turnover of 10 million euros, Ateþçelik is targeting 20 million euros annual turnover by the end of 2011. The wind turbine tower production is expected to create 150 jobs.

According to reports from the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, Turkey has 46.5 gigawatts of power-generation capacity. Only 1.1 gigawatts of this figure comes from wind power, but the segment is growing rapidly. Last year, 343 megawatts of new wind power capacity was added in the segment, representing an annual growth rate of 75 percent.

Installed wind farm capacity is expected to grow at between 500-1,000 megawatts per year, reaching more than the average growth in power demand of 7.5 percent each year. If the targets are met, wind power would cover one-fifth of Turkey’s power demand by 2023.