Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sinop Gerze information note on new thermal power plant investment

Dear Colleagues, Dear Energy Professional,

As Energy Working Group of Chamber of Mechanical Engineers, we visited Gerze town on 22nd May 2010 Saturday afternoon. We got information on new investment for a new imported coal firing thermal power plant. A hardcopy of EIA application report is received. We have reviewed the possible site which is considered for building the new plant at Sinop province Gerze county YAYKIL village.

On a narrow coastal sea shore of about 200 meters, approximately 400 acres of farmland extended backwards is considered for this new investment. At the edges of the selected agricultural / forest land, 108 acres of selected land is covered by forest.

Samsun-Sinop highway is on the west backend and 154 kV electricity transmission line is also very close. In the north, a small river reaches the Black Sea coast line.

Samsun Gerze double road is under construction. The road is in a mess as of last week. There are infrastructure bridge constructions and ongoing works for asphalt road surface coating. We passed 100 km in two hours at very low speed.

There is a new Airport at Sinop. There is scheduled THY flights to Istanbul every day.

Here is my observations and comments on new Gerze imported coal firing thermal power plant as follows,

1. Although the locals express that they did not sell their land to the investor, one should note that is not important. If the investor obtains EIA certification and EMRA license, then upon investors request, public authorities can initiate the expropriation of the required land for the new thermal power plant. Legal advise is necessary.

2. I have read the available application to EIA report three times. Other than the birds insects flowers section, the report is very premature in content, very simple, lack of technical details, very rouge and careless as if it is saying in comfort that "We know this business, we do not want/ need to specify the details, you are illiterate, you do not know these issues, in any case we shall complete this investment despite of your objections, and you have no ability no power to stop us".

3. After a very narrow coastal sea shore of about 200 meters, there is an extending land in S- shaped backwards already in agricultural works in the new thermal power plant proposed site. Planned 1-km jetty will not be suffient and in the longterm it will be extended to at least 4-kms which will adversely affect the nearby fishery. This 400 acres of agricultural land is not enough for the new thermal power plant in the long run. There is small space for Coal stocks in small lanes in the draft project layout, similarly a small ash disposal pit just for 1-month storage. There is not space for ash dam. A small land of 400 acres is not enough for the new thermal plant for sure. A similar imported coal plant in Sugozu Isken has site for more than 1000 acres at Iskenderun bay on the Mediterranean coast. Therefore future expropriation and more land purchase is inevitable.

4. We chamber of mechanical engineers support thermal power plant constructions as long as they do not interfere the ongoing agricultural activities, and they do not pollute nearby air, sea and land environment. We have a clear attitude that new thermal power plant should not harm the environment, it should not interfere the interest of the local people. Coal intake facilities, seaport, coal storage facilities, ash disposal facilities, stack flue gas emissions, deep sea disposal facilities should not harm the existing neighborhood, and should be designed extremely environmentally friendly. In our country that is too difficult, since in case of any violation in operation, the penalties are not deterrent, and the plants continue to pollute the environment in the long run as we notice in the past similar references. There is no plant closure since we have chronic ever growing energy demand of the country as a whole.

5. However a thermal power plant investment can not be realized despite of the growing reaction of the local people. Future developments can be unpleasant. Thermal power plants around the potential future value of agricultural land loss is a very well known fact.

6. It is reported that the investor consultants (especially the academician) constantly insulted the local people. The academician can be a competent science person but her competence is in fluid bed firing technology whereby this plant will have pulverized coal firing equipment of the imported coal and that is not within her field of specialty.

7. It is our sincere feeling that the investor has not effective public relations activity for the new plant. You can not handle all PR through a fancy internet page. That is necessary for sure but not enough. A presentation to a limited number of people in a relatively expensive local hotel restaurant on a dinner table does not work. Gerze residents may not be engineers in profession but they are educated people with many different professions, and eager to defend their civil rights, and they have all access to legal platforms at all times.

8. On May 3rd 2010, a small summer vacation/ farm community with 6800 population gathered more than 10,000 people and expressed their reaction to the thermal power plant and this appeal is a serious situation. You have to consider your investment decision once again if you receive so high opposition. If you do not care, the consequence can be so harsh and there will be no winner.

9. There is incoming natural gas BlueStream pipeline in Samsun region. It is obvious that we shall have new combined cycle power plants in the region to utilize that huge incoming gas by maximized used of local engineering, local manpower, local fabrication. We chamber of mechanical engineers are too pleased to have more job more business more contract opportunities for our members, employment for the local people more business in our facilities as long as other colleagues in other engineering disciplines have favorable opinion.

10. This plant has 5.5 years of payback period based upon minimum buying price of the public regulations and within 2 years based on prevailing market electricity sell prices. In 2 years time, investor will have capacity increase plans for new additional 1200 MWe plant. Similar capacity thermal power plant in Sugozu already placed new capacity increase and made contract with the contractor.

11. 200 meter seashore will not be sufficient for coal unloading facilities for ocean coal shipment. New closed seaport construction is necessary. That means more land expropriation of the nearby forest land.

12. However, the objections of the local people has surpassing decision on our employment expectations, since it is high risk investment on neighboring community and for air, sea, and land/ soil environment. Therefore we would recommend the investor to evaluate the other land options especially on the Mediterranean coast in Iskenderun Bay since Russian coal is not so cheap any more compared to prevailing international market prices of the imported coal.

Respectfully submitted for your evaluation and further comments.

Haluk Direskeneli, Ankara based Energy Analyst,


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