National Energy Efficiency Forum and Fair in İstanbul, Jan 12-13, 2012

Yuksel Oktay
Yuksel Oktay

The 3rd National Energy Efficiency Forum and Fair was held  at the WOW Convention Center in İstanbul during the 31st annual Energy Efficiency Week. The Forum, organized by the General Directorate of Renewable Energy of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, and the ‘’Sektörel Fuarcılık’’with the support of many sponsors, including İstanbul Gas Distribution A.Ş. (IGDAŞ), the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, Ministry of Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Forestry and Water Works, Union of Turkish Engineers and Architects Associations (TMMOB), and others. There was no registration fee and the gala diner on Thursday night was also free where even wine and rakı was served while a six member group played and sang Turkish songs, including the favorite ‘’Eski Dostlar – Old Friends’’.

Over 1,000 professionals, bureaucrats, media members, exhibitors and others were among the attendees with standing room only at the opening session which started with the recital of the national anthem and the Turkish flag and image of Atatürk on the overhead screen. Close to 4,000 participants and visitors attended the Forum and the Fair, according to a newspaper article, and close to one hundred companies exhibited their products and services at the fair.

The opening speeches were made by Yusuf Yazar, General Manager of General Directorate of Renewabl Energy, Dr. Kıvanç Dinçer, Deputy Chairman of Scientific and Technological Research Institution of Turkey (TUBITAK), Mehmet Soğanci, Chairman of Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Scientists (TMMOB), Rıfat Hisarcıkoğlu, Chairman of Union of Chambers and Commodity (TOBB), Mahmut Mücahit Fındıklı, Chairman of Turkish Grand National Assembly Industry, Trade, Energy, Natural Resources Information and Technology Commission, and Taner Yıldız, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. There was a good representation of the energy sector who made important presentations on the present and the future state of Turkish energy sector with international participation.

Yusuf Yazar first reminded the audience that theGeneral Directorate of Renewable Energy was established in 2011, replacing the General Directorate of Electrical Power Resources Survey and Development Administration (EIE) which was founded back in 1934, first as the ‘’Electricification Bureau’’ (at Ataturk’s order). The total installed capacity of electricity in 1923 was 33 MW which has reached to over 53,000 at the end of 2011. Kıvanc Dincer, commenting that he is not from the energy sector and was invited to speak by the Minister of Energy, stated that the United States goal was to reach 50% conservation in the energy sector by 2025. Since Turkey meets most of her energy demands by imports (over 75 %), its goal should also be to conserve energy, which has been set as at least 20% by 2023. One of the areas is the 24 million  refrigerators, which consumes over 17 billion Kw every year, with a recommendation that 15 million of them should be rplaced with more efficient units. Mehmet Sogancı stated that Turkey had a potential to conserve 25% energy by 2023.

Minister of Energy presented information on the oil explorations, which has been increased by 12 fold since 2003 since oil, natural gas and coal will stil be dominant soource until 2050, accounting for 85% of energy need. Taner Yıldız stated that he goal for 2023 is to be among the top 10 largest economies and emphasized the need for building nuclear power plants which will also help in reducing global warming. The Minister also stated that the installed capacity of power plants will need to be doubled by 2023 and, up to now, licences have been issued for 50,000 MW.

The next session was the recognition of high school students who had participated in a competition on energy conservation. The awards to the winners were handed by the Miniser of Energy. This was followed by the opening of the Fair where many world famous companies were exhibiting their products an services. Among these were Siemens, Phillips, Schneider Elektrik, Rehau, Grundfos, Wilo, Osra, Thermaflex. Turkish companies were represented by Arçelik, Demirdöküm, E.C.A, Enve, Friterm, Izocam, TUBITAK MAM, Trakya Cam, Ytong, Viko and others. Civic organizations, such as MUSIAD, Chamber of Mechanical Engineers and many publishing companies also had stands.

There were 15 sessions during the two day forum, many moderated by representatives from the various energy related institutions and members of the Parliament, during which over 50 presentations were made. Everyone emphasized the need to enhance the society’s awareness regarding energy culture and efficiency. The first session, chaired by Deputy Ali Bayramoglu, was on ‘’Turkey’s Energy Efficiency Strategies and Legislation’’ where one of the speakers was Michael E. Koszalka, a US consultant on energy efficiency. This was followed by second session on ‘’Industrial energy efficiency strategies’’ where Ronald Vermeeren from Netherland spoke about long term agreements for increasing efficiency in industry.

The third session was on the ‘’role of local governments in energy efficiency’’ where one of the presenters, Aynur Acar from Union of Municipalities of Marmara, was asked what concrete actions were taken for accomplishing energy efficiency, which she responded with several examples, such as placing insulations on the outside of exsting buildings.The fourth session, chaired by Dr. Selahattin Çimen from MENR, covered ‘’Turkey’s Renewable Energy policies, legislation, action plans and environmental impact.’’ These were followed by sessions on financing mechanisms, energy efficiency strategies in buildings and the transportation sector. A ‘’Proceedings Book’’ with presentations was distributed to all participants.

On Friday, the Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan delivered a speech at 15:00 PM, emphasizing the importance of energy efficiency and conserbvation. The Prime Minister also presented  awards to companies selected for their contributon to energy efficiency, including Arçelik, Vestel, Koç and others. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for creating a fuss over an investigation launched against its leader, accusing the CHP chairman of wanting to be a hero and likening him to fictional knight Don Quixote. The Prime Minister took advantage of the Forum and made remarks about the ongoing debate an ‘’Felzeke’’. He said: “We are working to produce energy from wind, but they are fighting with windmills. You see, they are creating a fuss over a probe. … They are now after cheap heroism. … Sorry, but this investigation can bring no heroism. … The imaginary world of that famous novel hero Don Quixote is not even as rich as that of [Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu. It is not even certain what he is fighting with,”

All in all, this was an excellent Forum and Fair organized by Sektörel Fuarcılık in an efficient manner.

An international energy conference has also been held in Abu Dabi, ‘’World Energy Future Summit’’ last week where the UN General Secretay Ban Ki Moon and Wen Jiabao, the Prime Minister of China have also attended. According to Gila Benmayor in her Hurriyet column (17 jan 2012), very few from Turkey have attended the Summit although the main theme was Renewable Energy. Among the 26,000 attending the Summit were Meltem Çakıcı, Turhan Turhangil, Göktuğ Gür and Cihan Karamık from Turkey.

Yüksel Oktay, Energy Consultant, Washington, NJ, USA

İstanbul, 18 January 2012