Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Energy aspect of the Cyprus Question-

‘Dirty’ versus ‘Green energy’

AKSA Power Plant - Northern Cyprus

For many years, Turkish Cyprus has heavily relied on electricity produced from the oil-fired power station at Kalecik - İskele/Boğaz operated by the power company, AKSA Energy. Something in the order of 150 MWH of electricity comes from this source.  It has recently come to light that for reasons best known to AKSA Energy, they have failed to maintain their Flue Gas Desulphurisation filters (FGD) and this has resulted in high levels of Sulphur Dioxide entering the atmosphere.

To explain more thoroughly, Flue Gas Desulphurisation, generally referred to as FGD, is the technology utilised in the removal of sulphur dioxide (SO2) from the flue gases of power plants burning coal or oil that produce steam for the turbines. These turbines drive their electricity generators. The most common types of FGD contact the flue gases with an alkaline sorbent such as gypsum, lime or limestone. If these vital pieces of plant are not fitted, the production of what we now commonly call “Acid Rain" is inevitable and the impact on the environment is colossal. 

Their importance cannot be under-estimated, yet the technology is freely available throughout the world. We have no idea why AKSA Energy has failed to properly maintain this vital power station correctly; it could be economic, incompetence, mismanagement or a combination of all. It nevertheless shows Turkish Cyprus in a poor light at a most inopportune moment in time.

 Over the past two years and certainly in recent weeks, this column has actively promoted various types of renewable energy conversion processes which when combined could materially aid energy-self sufficiency goals not only of Turkish Cyprus, but many countries the world over. Solar, Wind, Waste to Energy (Municipal Waste or Bio) are all viable sources of valuable energy and more importantly they are clean or ‘green’ to use modern terminology. In a recent move, Turkey now aims to scale-up renewables by 30 percent by 2023 with the second fastest rise in demand for energy in the world after China. 

ILISU Hydroelectric Power Plant- Turkey

In 2013, Turkey generated 70% of its energy requirements from fossil fuels, 25% from Hydro Electric Power and the remainder from wind/solar sources. The vast majority of the fossil fuelled energy derives from reliance upon external suppliers and at last the energy ministry is looking towards home-generated energy sources and with renewables, as has been highlighted and explained in some detail by this column recently, Turkey has the necessary resources to hand; in fact it is all around us especially Municipal Waste.

Turkey consumed 245.5 billion kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity in 2013 and Turkey’s total electricity consumption for 2014 is estimated to be 256 billion kilowatt-hour (kWh), an increase of 4.1 percent compared to last year, according to the Turkish Electricity Production Company (TEIAS). A study by the country's Energy Ministry has revealed that Turkey's electricity demand will reach 620 billion kilowatt per hour. According to reports, Turkey plans to generate 15 percent of its electricity from hydropower, 12 percent from wind and geothermal power, 11 percent from nuclear energy, 5 percent from solar power and 2 percent from others by 2030. There is neither word, nor consideration for either Municipal or Bio Waste energy conversion within these studies: The relevant industrial bodies need to do a great deal more, therefore to raise awareness at the right levels.

Waste to Energy processes achieve far more for the environment than energy production alone whilst of course, it is the primary requirement. W2E sites materially consume both Municipal Waste and via anaerobic digestion systems, food and animal waste too. Millions upon Millions of metric tonnes of these forms of waste are to be found rotting in tips and landfill sites not only across Turkey but all around the world. Converting this freely available material to energy and other by-products by clean processes greatly benefit the local and wider environment too. 

Furthermore, a Municipal Waste to Energy plant of a size that processes 1000 Metric Tonnes per Day, would employ at least 200 people per shift quite apart from the opportunities for additional employment with the transport infrastructure that could be generated from the creation of these energy farms, which themselves could host solar arrays and wind turbines too. Each W2E plant can be housed on a solar dome too which would have the positive environmental effect of dampening ambient noise and not only would this be more visually pleasing, it also contributes to the energy conversion equation.

The Government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are now looking at Waste to Energy processes to not only lift some of the burden from traditional ‘dirty energy’ sources but also to materially aid the environmental blight the north of the island suffers from in recent years. The TRNC could lead the region in pioneering energy conversion, the ‘green way’.


Chris Green

Beşparmak Media Services