Sunday, June 15, 2014

Energy Market Dynamics

Dear Readers,
The Soma mine disaster which took place on the 13th of May, 2014 resulted in the highest loss of human life caused by a man-made structure in the last 40-years globally. It is for sure that the accident occurred due to poor safety measures and priority being given to coal production rather than the safety norms which are to be upgraded to the level of world standards. The Soma disaster stemmed from imprudence.

Your writer believes that local coal is the solution to the ever increasing energy demand within the local market. The high quality coal produced from underground mining is not burned in our local thermal power plants. This rich coal is used in industry, mainly in iron and steel mills. Our local thermal power plants use the nearby open-pit poor quality lignite, sometimes called brown coal, which cannot be utilized elsewhere.
Coal is accused of being the "death trap" of energy sources and we receive many evaluations that we should move away from coal to other sources. This is incorrect. Local coal is a blessing for this country that can be utilized to free ourselves from imported fuel coal-gas, to reduce current account deficiencies (CAD), and to increase supply security. Hydro, wind, and solar energies are not alternatives but supplemental sources of energy generation.
Today, we will cover the latest developments in the local electricity market.
In the year 2002, with an amendment to the energy law, political authorities chose to reduce the role of public enterprises in energy generation. Preference was given to the private sector in investing and building new power plants. Nowadays, we cannot say that we have created a free market in the energy sector, but we can observe that a certain level of transition has been reached.
In the market liberalization process regarding the use of natural gas in the electricity market, our national pipeline company signed its first purchase agreement for the sale and purchase of gas with Russia’s energy giant, Gasprom, in 1984.
Later, a LNG purchase agreement was signed with Algeria. In the following years, public and private companies made several gas purchase agreements that contributed to the expanded volume of gas use in the local market for household heating as well as electricity generation.
In 1984, the first step taken towards market liberalization of the electricity market was the division of the public energy enterprise into firms responsible for generation (TEAS) and distribution (TEDAS).
In 1994, we had power plant investments in accordance with the Build- Operate- Transfer (BOT) model. Similarly, we initiated the installation of new power plants based on the Build-Own- Operate (BOO) model.
EMRA (the Energy Markets Regulatory Agency) was established in 2001 and TEAS was divided into three companies, namely, EÜAŞ (generation), TEİAŞ (transmission), and TETAŞ (trade). We have created a "free consumer" concept, emphasizing the right of the consumer to choose an electricity supplier that suits his or her requirements.
The financial settlement method finished in 2003 and after the 2006 crisis we employed the electricity balancing and settlement regulation method. Later, in 2010, hourly day-ahead market planning was implemented to enable the smooth transition to free market pricing.
We had previously experienced a shortage of outsourced natural gas in the cold winter months and faced price hikes, trapped without the capability to negotiate.
Problems with the "intraday market" will be overcome through the pushing forward of the transition to this market. Preliminary work has been completed on the intraday market through the new entity EPİAŞ, and progress will be furthered by the end of 2014 as planned.
Our total installed energy generation capacity output has reached about 65,000 MW within the last 10 years, increasing three-fold from earlier times. The private sector now holds a larger share of electricity generation than the public sector.
The total installed capacity of natural gas-fired combined cycle power plants (CCPPs) and imported coal-fired conventional power plants has also begun to hold an important share. The purchase agreements of natural gas-fired CCPPs which were built according to BOO and BOT contracts will come to an end, and then we expect to see new movement in the markets.
With the increasing number of wind power plant installations, Turkey now ranks 10th in Europe in terms of installed wind power. By 2023, we have a target to reach an installed wind electricity capacity of 20,000 MW which is unlikely to be attained. We hope that by accelerating the regulation process of licensing and issuance of new wind energy permits, we can increase wind power generation. Moreover, wind and solar power companies will be able to generate additional income through carbon markets.
Turkey's energy consumption has increased by 7% annually over the last 10 years, hence the doubling of its output capacity. Investors have gained market experience with regards to the growth forecasts which are very important in initiating new investments. BOO and BOT power plants continue to have long-term power purchase agreements for the sale of electricity to the public trading company (TETAŞ). EÜAŞ (the public generation company) and other free power generation companies have bilateral agreements through which energy can be sold to consumers on the spot market. The public trade company (TETAŞ) sells electricity, based on national tariffs, to distribution and retail companies which in turn sell to end consumers.
Electricity produced from renewable energy sources have guaranteed purchase prices which can be sold to retail companies at a premium price. Available electricity in the local market is sold on the ‘day-ahead market’ according to ‘balancing power market’ procedures. Currently, the balancing market has a lack of transparency/openness, as seen in the observation that the existing structure is amenable to manipulation.
In the years to come, however, market shares of EÜAŞ and TETAŞ will decrease as will those of the BOO and BOT power plants, thus allowing different players in the market to maneuver in a more free and competitive structure.
We expect a more transparent structure will be achieved with the help of the Istanbul Stock Exchange, along with its private partnership with EPİAŞ (public), the intraday market, and integration of financial markets.
In Turkey there is also an Over the Counter (OTC) market, a bilateral contract market that works in a more limited capacity and for shorter periods of time. Here, agreements are subject to stamp duty, there are a smaller number of participants, and intermediaries are unique. In the coming years we hope to increase the number of both exhibitors and intermediaries.
In our country, we have a narrow trade volume in the "energy exchange" market. We hope that the Istanbul Stock Exchange will produce a higher volume of energy transactions and expect it to be an active market in future. There are 21 active electricity distribution companies which are expected to be transferred during the retail sales process. Instead of operating with the current national tariff that varies according to the supply point, we hope to adopt a regional price method which would be aimed at resetting the eligible consumer limit to zero.
In the natural gas market, we have a state monopoly on imports, transmission, and marketing that is completely controlled by BOTAŞ. Similar to the unbundling seen in the electricity market, we expect the same in the natural gas market. Most importation is carried out solely by BOTAŞ, yet its market share should decrease in the coming years.
We have been experiencing difficulties due to the low level of supply security of natural gas reserves. In order to have better supply security, our public authorities have introduced an investment plan for new pipelines from northern Iraq, expressed interest in the new offshore gas reserves of Israel/Cyprus, introduced a new LNG terminal in Izmir, increased the capacity of gas fields in northern Marmara, and invested in the exploration of underground gas reserves at Salt Lake (Tuz Gölü).
Our electricity market operates based on a cost-based bidding procedure that is determined by the price of each participant's hourly basic energy input. Via bilateral agreements or YEKDEM (the renewable energy incentive procedure), the electrical energy generated is transferred to the system.
Private plants do not bid in the balancing market, but they do declare estimated production and energy amounts that they are transmitting to the system. According to the total amount of the bids received and the total production demand, forecasts are made at the point when the marginal price the-day-before is decided upon.
The final price for the end consumer is then finalized by taking into consideration the cost of lost and stolen energy, distribution costs, delivery costs, TRT’s (Turkish Radio Television) share, meter reading costs, value added tax, and additional fees such as energy consumption taxes. The fact that TRT receives a share still faces ongoing criticisms. Right now the priority in electricity trading is production optimization and fuel supply security.
In which market the electricity will be sold, at what price, and at what time interval, are the big questions following supply security. The consumption portfolio should be kept broad, same with the production portfolio, and their availabilities should exhibit sufficient flexibility.
In short-term planning, demand forecasting and plant reliability have been gaining importance. In medium-term planning, lasting profitability analysis of the bilateral agreements ought to be in included in the realization of those demand forecasts. In long-term planning, investment objectives should also incorporate the determined final amount of consumer demand.
The number of supply companies in Turkey is far too high, especially considering how essential the amount of companies active in a competitive market is. Compared with samples of the number of suppliers in Europe, we observe that the smaller the number of operations, the better it is for a healthier market.
We hope that this number will decrease over time and that in the long-term, the purchase contracts of EÜAŞ and TETAŞ will come to an end, tariffs will be lifted, EMRA's market share will be reduced, and that retail players will have more freedom to establish dominant positions in the competitive market of the future. In this way, end users will hopefully receive cheaper and more reliable electricity as well. Ankara, 15 June, 2014
Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public and, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as a freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of METU Alumni and the Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is there any relation between the Soma mine disaster & thermal power plants?

Dear Readers,

We should keep in mind that the majority of our existing local thermal power plants do not use high calorie coal from underground mines. Open-pit lignite coal with a low calorific value is most commonly used to power existing thermal power plants in generating electricity. The design for power plants firing imported coal is completely different. Here, imported coal comes from the nearest sea port.
Only at the Çatalağzı- B thermal power plant do we fire byproduct wastes of the hard coal "water floating enrichment" process, which has an approx. 3000 kcal/kg LHV (lower heating value). Here, hard coal is water washed, enriched, and delivered to the steel industry, and the remaining poor quality byproduct waste is delivered to the thermal power plant, since it cannot be utilized elsewhere.
You cannot burn imported coal in a thermal power plant which is designed to fire poor quality lignite, similarly you cannot fire poor quality lignite in a thermal power plant that is designed to fire imported coal. The plant designs are completely different.
The Soma Eynez underground mine produces high calorie lignite with a 4000-6000 kcal/kg LHV which is then delivered to iron and steel industries in Aliağa and other nearby industrial zones. The high quality coal is also used for household heating in the winter. We have some use of this high quality coal at thermal power plants but consumption remains very limited.
There is no direct relationship between the high quality coal of Soma Eynez and the nearby Soma thermal power plant. The Soma thermal power plant Unit-B uses poor quality 1500-2200 kcal/kg LHV lignite from open-pit lignite mines elsewhere in the region, mostly from the Soma Deniş open-pit coal fields. This low calorie, poor quality lignite cannot be utilized anywhere other than at the thermal power plants that are designed to fire this lignite coal.
Elbistan Kışlaköy and Çöllolar, Soma Deniş,  Yeniköy, and Kemerköy are similar open-pit coal mines that feed the nearby thermal power plants. On the other hand, at the Çayırhan coal town, there are newly opened underground quarries that are fully mechanized in their mining work. In our country there are a few new locations where we extract high quality coal from underground mine fields in a mechanized fashion and deliver the fuel to adjacent thermal power plants.
The newly commissioned Adularia Yunus Emre Thermal Power Plant, consumes coal from the mines nearby. Here, the underground mine fields produce cheaper mine mouth coal prices with full mechanization and qualified technicians that are employed according to strict safety standards.
Since the nearby open-pit coal fields are about to be depleted in Tunçbilek  Derin  Sahalar (Deep Field), Yatağan Turgut and Yeniköy Karacahisar, next on the agenda of these operations will be their further expansion underground in the search for new mechanized coal investments. Prior to their licensing and investment incentives, we should encourage full mechanization in their new investment spending.
However, each coal field has specific characteristics in that mechanized underground operation may not be suitable at all times. For mechanized investment many parameters are to be evaluated. Investors are to investigate proven reserves, geological structure, hydrogeological situation, as well as properties of rocks, coal thickness, depth, width, slope, etc.
In these new underground mine ventures, we should encourage fully-mechanized operations if applicable, and try to avoid labor-intensive coal production. It would be best if we stayed away from labor-intensive fields that employ shovel production for a while. We know that each coal field site has its own unique design and planning. In this regard, making generalizations is not recommended. The public authorities should impose regulations on expropriation permits and environmental criteria in order to promote safer working environments.
In the Elbistan Çöllolar open-pit low calorie lignite mine fields, we faced the misfortune of landslides due to ignorance of safe working standards. This resulted in casualties, whose causes are yet to be clarified.
The Yeniköy and Kemerköy open pit coal excavations have depleted the coal fields, and their natural structures have changed. Here, land filling, leveling, and planting for agriculture purposes remain unfinished.
Moreover, the Yatağan fields produce coal with high levels of radioactivity and continues to have problems in solving on-site ash dam accumulation. Other thermal power plants and coal mines are mostly open pit. With this method, the soil on top of the mine field is removed and the extracted coal is sent to nearby power plants with conveyor belts, buckets, etc.
Mechanized practices are more easily applied in open fields. We do not face the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning as can be the case with deep underground labor intensive mining. But here, outdoor operation problems are different and can include landslides and mine subsidence. Random and widespread coal fires are another danger. Different safety measures are necessary in open-pit coal mines.
In low calorie coal firing thermal power plants, the first ignition in the boiler combustion chamber is provided by fuel oil burners (no.6). This design is made to burn the low calorie lignite in bulk quantities. In these boilers you cannot fire natural gas in lieu of fuel oil (no.6).
Currently we have reached an overall 65-GWe installed capacity. However, this figure is misleading seeing that it includes thermal power plants that are no longer in operation. For example, Afsin-A, with a 4x340 MWe capacity, is in operation but with one unit only, and this unit only has a 70% availability. Its other three units do not work.
The Afsin-B plant has the same four-unit capacity, but here only two-units are running, the other two-units are defective, they do not work.
Their repair has not been completed for the last 2-years. Tunçbilek 1-2-3 does not work. Soma-A does not work. The Hopa plant with a 2x25 MW capacity also does not work.
The Kemerköy-Yeniköy thermal power plants have 50% availabilities, meaning that they are operating at half of their total capacities. Nonetheless, we incorporate all of these inoperative unit capacities in our total installed capacity figures. This is not correct. We are fooling ourselves. Our thermal power plants have completed their normal lifetimes. They have low efficiencies and low availabilities. They are unable to run uninterrupted. Serious rehabilitation programs should be enforced.
In fact, more precisely, it would be better to remove all of these old thermal power plants, demolish them, and sell their scraps in a short amount of time. It is much more efficient, more profitable, and more feasible to install new thermal power plants which are designed with new technology, new environmental equipment, bigger dust filters, better flue gas desulphurization, and bigger ash dams.
We know that it is difficult to find financing after a privatization auction. Project finance is always difficult. Investors face project financing problems prior to taking full ownership of an energy investment. 
Since the plants are sold with full ownership, there are other investment options to choose from. In the extreme case, at Kemerköy seaside plant, you could build a Ro-Ro sea port, a marina-style summertime vacation resort.
You could build a new thermal power plant for fire imported coal, or imported LNG, or investigate if you could build a nuclear power plant. Plant transmission lines are already available. High-voltage switchgear facilities are ready. All you have to do is to apply for investment incentives and licensing in accordance with Energy Market Law No. 6446. These investment and production licenses are mandatory.
The investor will need a period of 24-36 months for the receipt of the necessary licenses. The investor can continue electricity generation at the old plant to ensure cash inflow until obtaining these licenses.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. Our hearts go out to those families whose loved ones passed in the Manisa Soma mine tragedy. Our thoughts continue to be with the people of Soma County.

Ankara, 29 May, 2014
Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public and, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as a freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of METU Alumni and the Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Soma should be the last disaster !!

Dear Readers,
On Tuesday May 13, 2014 at around 15:00, we were faced with the greatest human loss from a man-made disaster in our modern history. The largest accident to occur in recent years took place in the Soma county of the Manisa Province in the Eynez Region, below the earth in the Karanlık Dere (Dark Creek) Soma coal mines. The disaster began with underground mine fires that spewed out dense carbon monoxide, poisoning and killing hundreds of miners as well as mining engineers.
While evaluating the current disaster situation, we should approach the causes of the accident with great caution. Without having detailed technical information, it is too early to come to a final, accurate conclusion as to what initiated the accident.
We understand that in lieu of serious costly renovation investments, operation preferred extreme forced air circulation in the underground coal field tunnels, blowing excessive clean air with high capacity forced air fans into the mine fields which are 420 meters below sea level. Forced draft fresh air ventilators were overloaded, suction side induced draft fans were similarly overloaded. Both fans consumed huge amounts of energy from the underground high voltage transformer. The transformer was overloaded, overheated, and eventually caught fire in the end. This is what we know now. All other unconfirmed speculation remains hearsay.
We were told that the main transformer combusted, creating an underground fire that blocked access to all emergency exists and halted the elevators, thus preventing escape. At the time of the accident at 15:00, two different groups were on site due to a shift-change. Around 700+ miners were trapped underground. All were exposed to and suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning.  
Initial descriptions of the accident in which the transformer exploded (or caught aflame) have brought about increased confusion. In mining practices, transformers should be manufactured and supplied according to highly regulated safety standards. They have a low probability of combustion, even under extreme workloads. Underground high voltage transformers are isolated in protective concrete enclosures that shield the mine from all fire accidents.  
In addition, all electrical wiring and equipment is manufactured and supplied in accordance with certified explosion-proof (flame-proof) standards. To further reduce the possibility of fires, a "dry-type" of the explosion-proof high voltage transformer is selected. Thus we feel that the explosion of any transformer has a low probability, due to the typical highly protective mechanical features of the normal operation practices.
A team of local engineers from the Turkish Chamber of Electrical Engineers went to the mines where the accident occurred the following day to investigate the situation. They apprised that there was an underground fire which ignited the coal mines, thus creating carbon monoxide which in turn poisoned the miners.
Fresh air ventilation systems were disrupted as mechanical routing was not activated. Automation systems and escape elevators were not in operation. Fresh air could not be pumped below -700 meter elevations. The effects of the fire, smoke, and carbon monoxide were seen in widespread burns and poisoning.
Underground instruments made to detect toxic and explosive gases within the fresh air ventilation system were inadequate, obsolete, and non-renovated. Combustion starting in the underground mine fields was composed of deadly carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and methane gases that were responsible for a large number of deaths. There are rescue workers still in the mine but hope for those still trapped inside is diminishing.
The rescue operations were extremely difficult due to the fires inside the mine. Emergency elevators should have been in operation and a stand-by power supply should have been available.
Until the year 2007, the mine was operated by a state-owned company named "Aegean Lignite" enterprises, which was criticized for its high operation costs. Later, the mine operation was privatized.
Operation is now profitable. It pays a 25% fee to the Treasury on supplies mined. The new owners declare that their coal price is now at 24 US dollars per metric ton of coal with a 4000 kcal/kg lower heating value, which corresponds to 1.50 US Dollars per MMBTU at mine mouth delivery. But at what cost? Is it because of the low wages of the workers? Limited renovation investments? Out-dated equipment? Blocked or inoperable detection instruments?
The Izmir Branch of the Chamber of Mining Engineers released a public statement that the accident/explosion was caused by gas that was created when the transformer overloaded and consequently ignited. In these types of fire accidents, toxic gases that can induce poisoning make it so that workers cannot approach the source without masks and protective glasses. 
Cheap cables which are manufactured by countries in Eastern Europe and the Far East, emit noxious gases when burned. The underground mining area is currently closed to any technical inspections and investigations. We understand that Turkish Coal Enterprise has already transferred their "dry-type" transformers to the new owners for upgrading and renovation.
Throughout the world, most new buyers of privatized coal fields and private buyers of thermal power plants do not pay for the rehabilitation, renovation, or upgrading of the plants. Instead they continue to operate with existing equipment, pay more to public relations, pay less to workers, generate income, and postpone the replacement of equipment with better and bigger capacities. They avoid spending money on upgrading the plants or mine fields, they dig deeper into the mines, sell to the plants, and generate electricity and income.
Regulating agencies are helpless everywhere. Environmental expectations of the society are not met. Plants are operated at extremely high load conditions, so in the end, mine field are depleted quickly, thermal power plants rapidly degrade, and businesses age swiftly.
For these reasons they face mine fires, mining accidents, inefficient procedures, capacity reduction, restricted availabilities, low efficiency, a high number of interruptions, and many halts on operations. When rehabilitation expenditures are delayed, we notice continuous demands for time extensions for renovations, requests for exemptions from the responsibilities to invest in environmentally-sound equipment, and the avoidance of environmental emission-limitation norms. Societies' expectations for better operations, a cleaner environment, and higher salaries are not met.
In privatization, in the asset sales of power plants or in the leasing of mine fields, society expects a better environment, better job and safety standards, healthy and safe workplaces, and better plant and mine operations. These are also not met. We wish that we had been taught our lesson after all of these unpleasant, painful events. We select our politicians to better regulate these operations, for more secure, modern, and healthier workplace environments, complete with better functioning secure working conditions. In the end, we are all responsible for monitoring these plants and mine fields 24/7, through our public officials as well as our local NGOs.  
On behalf of the Turkish Weekly family, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and our sincere wishes for the safe evacuation of the remaining miners. We send our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who passed in the Manisa Soma mine collapse. Our thoughts are with the people of Soma County and we pray for those who are still trapped inside.

Ankara, 16 May, 2014

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public and private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as a freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of METU Alumni and the Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.
Journal of Turkish Weekly                                                                 ​​

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Carmen Opera in Ankara State Opera House

On 7,12,19,22-May 2014
Opera by Georges Bizet,
A personal Opinion

Dear readers,

The events in Carmen opera took place in 1830's in Spain. French writer Prosper Merimee novelist-narrator, listened to the story direct from the death sentence convict DonJose in the dungeon. Opera libretto was co-authored by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. Georges Bizet composed the memorable music.

Critics have never liked the first performance as staged in Paris, since the topic is contrary to prevailing morality norms for that period. Story was about a Seductive, flirtatious, sarcastic, beautiful woman, and a man who loves her to death.

Opera was first staged on 3-March 1875, and Bizet has died after 3-months. Subject is universally accepted today, it does not bother anyone. It is the leading of the world's most performed and beloved operas.

Movie shooting plot at the beginning as well as at the end, with exhibitionistic review sends the message to accentuating the audience that  "this is not real life we have shown, it is the work of role players who create a scene".

Today, the role of Carmen, is best played by sopranos Elina Garanca and Angela Gheorghiu. Premier evening we listened an incredible new young voice in Ankara opera house.

Mezzo-soprano "Perihan Asuman Karayavuz" who lives in Milan Italy, becoming a true Diva. Her theatrical talent, her dance ability, "Carmen" aria dominance throaty voice were all perfect, on the last two stagings.

Mezzo-sopranos Ferda Yetiser and Nesrin Gönüldağ will take the stage in the coming days for the same character.

Besides the main character in Carmen, the role of Micaela by "Esin Tanilli" and "Tugba Mankal", "Gorkem Ezgi Yildirim" in the role of Frasquita, "Ezgi Karakaya" as Mercedes , they all played great. Roles sang beautiful, theatrical features were very good.

DonJose character was played by Spanish tenor "Enrique Ferrer", on Premier night, and he gave the right image. Tenor "Lorenzo Arranz Moka" appeared for the same character on the scene on the night of April 30. They both played very realistic murder scene.

We noticed great orchestra and choir performances. I congratulate the individual members. On 26 and 30 April nights, orchestra was directed by our world famous Conductor Rengin Gökmen.

As stage-curtain is raised, then a movie shooting takes place with introduction of generics at the backstage curtain. Ballet and ballerina dance in the role of beautiful Carmen and her lover DonJose, while movie camera shoots the scene. In the end of opera, again movie camera approaches the couple again, explaining that all is fiction.

Later in the first act, young working girls in the tobacco factory, clash with security forces, which makes obvious references to todays' local events. The second act starts with flamenco dance, we watch feet of dancers through half open curtain, with flamenco music coming from loudspeakers at both ends. Then the stage turns into a modern disco platform for flamenco dancers, with flamenco guitar tunes coming from loudspeakers which enrich the colorful lively environment.

Escamillo character enters the stage at this point in the second act, like a rock star, Baritones İnanç Makinel (on 4/26), and Cem Baran Sertkaya (on 4/30) had extraordinary performances with their powerful voices. With Glittering confetti, with pulldown lowered projectors, various colorful music hall attractions, an exciting discotheque environment has been created.

Third and fourth acts played together. Due to additional features as movie shooting and disco scene, opera inevitably prolonged, so the remedy was to remove the third intermission. Rather than to prolong the play, since it is more than 3-hours long originally, one should try to shorten on the contrary.

On the Premier night, in the last act, Carmen character had a yellow color wig on her head. DonJose character in high degree of anger, snatched then lay down Carmen, drowned Carmen with yellow wig and furry stole pillow, killed the character. He then pulled his knife and killed himself. This was new introduction, but is was not a correct interpretation.

DonJose's death-suicide was unnecessary, it was not correct. We feel that the "original final" should not be changed. At the second staging on the evening of April 30, we has the inevitable end, Carmen was killed by drowning as well as knife stabbing, and DonJose had terrible suicide again.

Nowadays, directors introduce new interpretations into opera performances, they change time periods, environments, they keep the main themes of the original text. We believe in playing the original main themes of staging. We're are not ready for radical changes in the main text.

Moreover with umbrella in hand walking on the mountain slope by smuggler convoy would not be realistic. Umbrellas around gave the opposite effect which was to give scenes a mountaintop, but it could not be detected in parter seats, but could be noticed only in the balcony.

There are inaccuracies in Carmen dancing with castanets. Castanets sound comes from below, but at least Carmen should have them in her hands of Carmen,  to pretend playing. Her Flamenco shoes steps up to the platform with her hands, was not right to hit.

All mothers and fathers of children of the Children's Choir filled balcony and parter margins. Video and audio recordings were made in abundance, they cheered and applauded their children like crazy at the end of the play. Many years before I was one of them. I watched the scene from the balcony many times while my son was on the stage singing in the choir. I've watched each opera many times. Now the new stage mothers and fathers filled the opera. They will be opera lovers soon. Children's choir conductor had a very pleasant management and did a nice caring.
Let us make a little bit more criticism in line with the mentality of people of this country,

"Carmen is a pretty girl. Why does DonJose kill her? That is why we have so many woman murders here in this country. Domestic violence, force against women are to be stopped, these examples are to be intervened. Local male with incorrect orientation, seeing these negative examples on the stage wants to stab his wife who goes to divorce. We need to regulate these negative cases, murder and violence themes under a regulatory agency to be enforced separately. "
Please get prepared and do not be surprised if such review, or comment comes at all, even for such a worldwide proven master piece by all, dating since 1875's.

Houston Grand Opera house in Texas USA will play Carmen opera in May, as first announcements and reviews are received at our end. Similarly there are some changes in staging but the final is same as originally drafted. The same opera will be on stage Cincinnati, Barcelona, Beijing, Hamburg and Berlin all this year.

Theatrical performances of artists and their sounds are excellent.
The decor is reasonable, we have dazzling costumes.

Young Director Recep AYYILMAZ had performed a herculean work for such a classic opera staging of this great production. This Opera is long, we have intense characters, scenes are crowded, story is well known, it is much loved classical work.

Our director will have serious criticism for his new modern interpretation and for his modified "end". I heartily congratulate our young director for his courage and inspiration he created.
We are looking forward to see his new staging works in future.
If there is no review, no criticism, it is not good.
We critics are not supposed to like all performances.

Opera will take the stage again on 7,12,19,21 days of May. Try to see if you have the opportunity to do so. Please do write to me if you have any comments. Greetings and best regards

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Ankara, May-07, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hazelwood, Morwell, Australia

Hazelwood  Thermal Power Plant 8x200 MWe

Dear Readers,


Today we shall review the experience of a thermal power plant (TPP) operation on the other end of the world, a huge thermal power plant situated 150-km's east of Melbourne, Australia. The Hazelwood 8x200Mwe output capacity local coal/lignite-firing thermal power plant was built in early 1970's.


The plant was privatized in 1996. The parent company International Power (GDF Suez and Mitsui) paid U.S. $2.35 billion for the 1600 MWe (1470 MWe net) thermal power plant. The new owner paid the price, continued operation, generated electricity, sold to the grid, and earned money.


Since the purchase in 1996, the new owners had introduced an $800 million rehabilitation program to upgrade the plant. They paid $85 million for new dust collectors and stack sulfur retention (flue gas desulphurization, FGD) installations. It is our fair estimation that they should be paying more than $200 million for adequate environmental equipment. The money spent for rehab was not enough for the necessary environmental protections.


Today Hazelwood is still on the list of the world’s most polluting TPPs based on CO2 emission per generated kW-hour electricity. The desired environmental emissions figures have not yet been fulfilled. However, the plant has received extensions for the rehab period and was also granted an extension to operate until 2030. Had the plant not been privatized it was scheduled for closure in 2005 because of the huge, ongoing air pollution as well as water and land pollution.


Hazelwood TPP is built next to the Morwell open-pit lignite coal field. On 20 January 2014 an underground fire broke out in the Morwell coal field and lasted for 40 days. The air was highly polluted; the town of Morwell was evacuated. Huge environmental disaster occurred in the area. If there is a malfunction, a fire, an explosion, a breakdown, or an operational stop, there is always a human reason, some human negligence. As there is an underground fire in Morwell, there was some human negligence or error behind this disaster.


Which TPP's are the most air polluting in the world?


Here is the list of the world’s worst CO2 emitters per kW-hour as of 2013, based on the recent environmental report released by the EU Energy Commission:


1) U.S., Gallagher Indiana 600 Mw; 2) Poland, Belchatow 1090 Mw; 3) Australia, Hazelwood 1,600 Mw; 4) Greece, Agios Dimitrios 1,500 Mw; 5) Greece, Cardia 1,250 Mw; 6) Greece, Megalopolis 850 Mwe; 7) Bulgaria, Maritza Iztok 1-2-3, 3000 Mwe; Drax and Eggborough in England; Italy Brindisi South.


Which TPPs are Germany’s worst polluters?


From the same report:

Frimmersdorf 2413mw A, Janschwal 3000 MWe, Weisweiler 2293 MWA, Neurath 2100 MWe, Niederausse 3864 Mwe, Boxberg 1900 MWe, Schwarze Pumpe 1600 MWe, Lippendorf 1866 MWe, Scholven 2300 Mwe. (Ref.SpiegelOnline April-2014)


It is difficult to understand why the West Niederausse plant, which was an example of the latest technology, is in this worst-polluting plants list. Niederausse has received the "worst polluting" plant title due to its relatively high CO2 stack emission per kW-hour electricity generation. One could argue that in Germany, stack emission requirements are lowered to such levels that it justifies the incredibly high subsidies applied to renewable energy investments.


We have Afsin-Elbistan-A and Tuncbilek TPPs on the list of the world's top 100 worst polluting plants. In Turkey, the public authority adopted the "Large Combustion Plants Directive" (BYTY for short in Turkish) in 2010, with low emission requirements with which all high-capacity thermal power plants must comply. State-owned thermal power plants are under no emission or pollution obligation to comply with these directives until 2018. This period will be extended another three years.


Most of the coal-firing power plants in Germany under new European emission norms are not better than our plants in Turkey. We know that 40% of electricity production in Germany today is provided through domestic coal. German TPPs are burning coal with dust filters initially designed too small to meet the new norms. Most of them had no FGD systems to stop sulfur emissions.


Investors have no incentive to put more money into rehabilitating old power plants, since there is no return on investment. On the other hand, it is more rational to put money into renewable technologies, as the money creates more employment, more production, more export goods, and in the end creates clean energy without pollution. Power plants are sold to private investors, with the expectation that the new owners would invest money in rehabilitation, comply more to the new, strict environmental norms, and further reduce stack emissions. However these expectations were not fulfilled.


The owners asked for another time extension for rehab investments; they were reluctant to invest the money necessary for new bigger environmental equipment. They almost blackmailed the regulatory authority by warning to shut down the plant, threatening not to feed electricity to the national grid.


Since there is no return on rehab expenditures for old privatized power plants these expenditures are only made through regulatory or legal force.


German plants with poor environmental records are on the Polish border in the east or on the French border in the west, where most of the prevailing wind blows toward neighboring countries. So German citizens are less affected by the flue gas emissions, since dust emissions from stacks move to neighboring countries where people have no recourse. In Germany, dirty thermal power plants are in operation in remote lands far from cities, far from monitoring environmentalists.


In almost every part of the world private investors receive political support in their new power plant constructions. Local people on farm lands were the victims of these policies. Land, air, water, river, and sea environments were highly polluted. Brazilian rainforest has been heavily damaged. People in nearby agricultural lands that had high expectations for local employment were cheated. They lost their land and their environment. Trust was lost. Local resistance in every nearby community started organizing to stop or legally block any new power plant investments.


Thermal power plants are designed to fire the coal of nearby open-pit fields. However, it is recommended to eradicate the non-combustible substances such as rocks, stones, and soil—something that can be accomplished through simple eye screening and hand picking for selection and extraction. This procedure greatly improves operation and reduces breakdowns, stops, and unnecessary emergency repairs.


In the past, coal was fed into the coal mills at the Soma thermal power plant as received, without extracting rocks and stones. The average calorific value at the inlet of the combustion chamber was less than 1900-2000 kCal/kg, much less than boiler design figures.


Inflammable materials, rocks, and stones were fed into coal mills, pulverized, and fed into the combustion chamber but could not be burned since they have no calorific value. They were released from the stack as fly ash particulates, were not captured by small dust filters, and increased nearby air pollution. The bottom ash increased, was fed into the ash dam which then had a much shorter life span than expected.


The Soma TPP then employed unqualified labor to screen (by hand) inflammable rocks and stones at the conveyor exit from mine fields, to increase the calorific value to the2500-2800 kCal/kg range; efficiency was increased, availability was also increased. The load on coal pulverization mills was reduced, internal energy consumption was reduced, as was less fly ash, less dust, fewer emissions, and less bottom ash, and performance was improved.


We all wish that our coal facilities were equipped with water floating (lavuar) systems to clean the coal and separate it from the non-combustible rocks and stones. So we create higher calorific value coal to feed into combustion chambers so that we operate boilers more efficiently and with fewer failures, less fly ash, and less bottom ash.


Following the assets sales by private operators, power plants are expected to begin large-scale rehabilitation with better instrumentation, bigger dust filters, and more effective sulfur capture. However, they are not.


Buyers are generally reluctant to put money toward plant rehabilitation. They do not want to put money into bigger and better environmental equipment, which are known not to generate returns. They want more time extensions for such investments. They operate old plants at maximum capacity while polluting the environment, generating electricity, selling to the grid, and earning money.


Regulatory agencies are helpless. Environmental protection investments are not meeting expectations. Plants are aging fast and degrading rapidly, leading to more plant failures, more mine fires, more accidents, inefficient operation, and a reduction in capacity. Investors demand more grant time extensions for rehab investments and more exemptions for meeting EU environmental norms. The first priority is high income in privatization, but clean environmental norms are not met in the short term.


Turkey local coal reserves constitute the majority of the young lignite resources, with high humidity (35-55%), high-volatile (38-68%), high sulfur (1-3%), containing highly alkaline (0.025 to 0045%[4]) and low calorific value (1100-2500 kcal/kg LHV).


We have power plants with long proven successful operation with available local coal. They are designed  in direct or indirect pulverized coal firing or in circulating fluid bed (CFB) combustion designs.


As a result of the brutal competition in the public auctions of the plant sales, the emergence of too high prices, the initial owner of the property (privatization authority), can be named very successful.


Though proposals are expected to cover concrete rehab programs upfront, they are unfortunately unfulfilled in the end.


New owners prioritize earnings and repayment plans, but they avoid rehab and renovation expenditures. Environmental sensitivity over the medium and long terms as well as economic goals concerning the well-being of society are not allowed. That tendency is everywhere.


Our access to primary energy resources may be negatively impacted by our sensitive geography and evolving political events. Domestic lignite sources are to be exploited in more and more efficient new thermal power plants. It is essential that energy generation increases.


What experience have we gained from these observations?


We feel that it is wise to demolish old, degraded thermal power plants, sell them for scrap, replace them with new and better efficient plants of cutting edge design and the latest technology that can be manufactured domestically. In the long term, building a new modern power plant is cheaper than to purchasing an old plant and trying to rehabilitate it. With the new, modern, higher-efficiency power plants, we shall have better availability, better efficiency, and optimal compliance with the expected EU environmental norms.


Oberstdorf, Germany, 14 April, 2014

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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