Turkish firm to build hydro plants to diversify from gas

Turkish private energy company Akenerji plans to build two hydroelectric projects and to bid to lease three more in a move to diversify its natural gas-dominated generation portfolio.

Akenerji, which had revenues of US$295 million last year, has 541 MW of installed capacity, all from gas-fired plants.

General Manager Onder Karaduman said November 22 the company will cut that capacity by 100 MW by shutting 20 small, single-turbine, gas-fired plants and moving them to a nearby, unnamed country. It will shut down two other loss-making gas-fired power plants with a total capacity of 60 MW.

“The smaller the capacity in gas-fired plants, the less efficient the plant becomes,� he said. �Because of this and as part of our growth strategy through diversification, we want to get rid of these small plants and concentrate on other resources.”

Firm invests in 100-MW Trabzon, 79-MW Cinarcik

The company has obtained a license from regulators to build two hydroelectric plants, 100-MW Trabzon and 79-MW Cinarcik, with a total investment of US$235 million. The plants are to begin operating in late 2008.

“We have already invested US$150 million into these two hydroelectric plants,” Karaduman said.

Karaduman said Akenerji also is also working on plans to take over three more hydro plants that Turkey’s General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSi) hopes to lease out.

“Since cost for producing hydropower is the lowest among all energy resources, it is easier for an energy company to take risks in investments in higher-cost energy resources such as gas and coal,” he said.

According to Karaduman, who is also head of the Power Generators Association, the cost of power production from a gas-fired plant is 6 cents per kWh, while it is 3.5 cents from coal, 3 cents from nuclear, and 2 cents from hydro.

Akenerji has been considering building a coal-fired plant, bidding in a tender to build a nuclear plant, and competing in a privatization tender of three electricity distribution grids.

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