Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Turkish Dilemma of Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In June 2015 at the G7 Summit in Schloss Elmau Germany, the group of the seven most advanced industrial powers have agreed that the world should phase out the use of fossil fuels this century in a move hailed as a historic decision in the fight against climate change. The leaders of the US, Germany, France, the UK, Japan, Canada and Italy said they supported cutting emissions by 40 to 70 per cent from 2010 levels by 2050. The leaders also reaffirmed a pledge to mobilize $100bn per year from public and private sources by 2020 to help poorer nations tackle climate change. They warned that emerging countries such as China would have to contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. Ref.Reuters.

Developed countries are becoming worried about growing “Greenhouse Emissions” as created by the increased number of fossil fired thermal power plants in the developing (or emerging) countries. However, the reason for increased greenhouse emissions is not only to be found in the developing countries.

The United Nations 21st Climate Change Conference will be held in Paris, France between 30 November and 11 December 2015. Preliminary talks were held in Bonn, Germany between 1 and 11 June 2015.

The main purpose of the talks this year is to create a mutual understanding on the preventive measures that will keep global warming from exceeding “2 degrees Celsius” as compared to pre-industrial revolution levels of the 19th century. Prior to the commencement of the Paris talks, backstage preparations are taking place in international media circles as information is shared, new solutions are being put forward and support for certain policies is being voiced.

For last 100 years, developed countries have burned fossil fuels in their thermal power plants without any major concern for global warming. Their cumulative negative contribution to global warming is extraordinarily high compared to the developing countries. However, Turkey’s emission of greenhouse gases has been a topic of discussion over the past 10 years, especially in reference to its desire to increase its number of coal fired thermal power plants that would mainly make use of new imported coal firing technologies.

Over the last 10 years, there has been a significant increase in the per capita CO2 equivalent gas emissions of developing countries. Developed countries do not mention their own contribution to global warming throughout history, but as the subject relates to developing countries, they warn us to stop further investment in fossil fuel firing thermal power plants. In the end, we are left wondering who will initiate this trend to stop global warming. Without reflecting on their own practices, every country expects others to take preventive initiatives to decrease CO2 emissions.

On the other hand, we must continue energy development to increase life expectancy, to better the future of our children and to increase the prosperity of our society, hence in order to realize this we must generate more energy and a greater electricity output. Considering this we must fully utilize our indigenous fuel sources, namely, domestic fossil fuels that largely consist of lignite.

Renewable energies such as wind, solar and hydro sources are also to be tapped, but these sources cannot meet our base load energy needs. In order to fulfill our base load requirements from renewable sources, we need to invest in pumping storage hydraulic plants so that we can utilize the cheap electricity for storage, and generate reserve energy when electricity is scarce during peak seasons. Our country has no such reserve plants yet and these investments cannot be realized overnight.

Germany and Denmark have geographic advantages when it comes to renewable energy investments. When there is no wind or the sun is not shining, wind turbines and solar panels cannot fulfill these countries’ base load demands; yet these countries can easily purchase electricity from any neighboring country, whether produced by nuclear energy from France or Switzerland or by thermal energy from Poland. Due to Turkey’s geography, we do not have such supply flexibility to reach our base load requirements in case of need. We have only limited access to the Entso-E European electricity transmission pool.

International environmentalist groups exhibit a seriously reactionary attitude to our investment in expanding coal firing thermal power plants. Everyone has wondered and inquired about our coal investments, and they have warned us that we are increasing our per capita CO2 equivalent gas emissions. We all know that increases in greenhouse gas emissions will increase global warming, melt polar ice, increase the sea level and potentially cause environmental disasters.

In the past, no one was interested in Turkey’s contribution to these environmental problems seeing that we were frenziedly purchasing thermal power plants from US or West European suppliers at high prices. We were in a trapped market that worked to their benefit. Later, China emerged as an ultra-cheap supplier of thermal power plants whose design and quality were questionable when it came to their long term operation and overall adherence to environmental standards. Nonetheless, the market has shifted in favor of these low-price suppliers at the expense of the once dominant US and Western European firms. This has coincided with a time in which everyone has become an environmentalist, warning and advising others to stop investing in thermal power plants.

However, new thermal power plants can be designed employing “clean coal technologies” that provide for lower emission rates and less pollution while also allowing for the firing of local coal and utilization of local engineering, local manufacturing and local operation.

Bigger and more efficient dust filters and better flue gas desulphurization equipment can also be installed in these plants resulting in less greenhouse gases being emitted.

We all know that most of the world’s highest polluting thermal power plants are found in developed countries; because they are old. They need rehabilitation. Yet, countries do not want to invest in environmental equipment as these investments bring no payback. On the other hand, the thermal power plants in developing countries are relatively new and are designed to make use of new and better technologies and environmental equipment that meet more stringent emission standards. All in all these plants pollute less.

Developed countries have unrestrictedly polluted the environment for the last 100 years, whereby our impact in the last 10 years is significantly less in comparison. The cumulative amount of CO2 equivalent gas they have emitted over the last 100 years is obviously much more than that which we have produced over the last 10 years. Moreover, the recent wars in the Middle East and the setting ablaze of Kuwaiti and Iraqi oil wells have contributed to the global increases of gas emissions in the atmosphere, yet we have had no involvement in these wars.

Turkey’s annual CO2 equivalent gas emissions per capita were around 4.2 tonnes in 2010 and 6 tonnes in 2013. This drastic jump, which we are not comfortable with, stems from our country’s imported coal firing thermal power plant investments.

The USA’s per capita CO2 equivalent gas emissions were 17 tonnes in 2010 whereas the European Union’s per capita average was 7 tonnes, with Germany emitting 9.1 tonnes thanks to renewables and France 5.5 tonnes thanks to nuclear power plants. Russia emitted 12 tonnes per capita. Oil and gas producing countries which insist on generating electricity via simple cycle gas or crude oil firing thermal power plants also boasted high per capita emission rates, with Saudi Arabia emitting 17 tonnes and Kazakhstan 15 tonnes. China emitted 6.2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent gases per capita due to the increasing number of coal fired thermal power plants put into operation in the country, and it has shown no desire to assume responsibility in taking any preventive initiative to curb its growing emission rates.

We must decide internally how to create the conference team in the Paris Climate Change talks, preparing ourselves for the dialogue that is to come. The participation and contribution of public officials alone is insufficient. Local investors, who feel the pressure to protect the global environmental tightening around their necks, should take the event seriously and work with high profile academic and commercial personalities to explain the energy situation they have at their end. The unfortunate “Kyoto” experience should not be repeated in “Paris”. We must decide on our national policies, draft our responses in a timely manner and prepare to defend our national interests.

Those who cannot have a say in the policies formulated at the conference will be subjected to the will of others.

Ref. COP21, in Paris in 2015

Oberstdorf, Germany, 20 June 2015

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

Monday, June 15, 2015

Performance Critique of the Former Energy Minister, as of June 2015

Dear Energy Professional, Dear Colleagues,

The Turkish energy policy is widely evaluated in our JTW articles. It is our humble understanding that Success is only measured with more electricity generation capacity than the annual consumption. Turkey had to increase more funds to be allocated to energy and climate research and the related technology. Today our country has reached to 70k MWe installed capacity with 40k MWe peak availability.

Turkey has to succeed in finding good, practical solutions for promoting the aspects of energy security as well as environmental sustainability, financial efficiency, the diversity of domestic energy production and its reliance on multiple energy sources, highlighting particularly thermal power, nuclear power, wind power, biomass and hydropower.

Turkey has to have pragmatic approach in meeting the international emissions objectives, and for being capable of combining environmental perspectives with decision-making in the energy sector.

We need to point out following as the related key success factors: successful decision-making, stable financing, strong national and regional research organizations, proactive international co-operation and public-private co-operation.

Our former Energy Minister did not participate in the 7 June 2015 General Elections because of his party’s regulation that none of their members of parliament may serve for more than three consecutive terms. He was a member of the Justice and Development Party and the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. He graduated from the prestigious Istanbul Technical University as an electrical engineer and worked for the Kayseri Electricity Generation Company. He was elected to the Parliament in 2002. He served as an experienced professional senior energy adviser to the Prime Minister. On 1 May 2009, after a reshuffle of the cabinet, he took the post of Minister of Energy and Natural Resources. He is married and has four children. Ref. Wikipedia.

He was the major decision maker in energy policies and the influencer MP of the ruling political party. As energy minister as well as the day-to-day running of this important department dealing with Turkey’s gas, electricity requirements he had to deal with a number of issues including but not limited to the following matters;

- Privatization of Turkey’s energy sector, generation, distribution,

- Rehabilitation of aging Thermal Power plants,

- Tendering Afsin- Elbistan C & D, based on firing local mine mouth local lignite,

- Negotiating natural gas purchases with countries Russia, Iran and others.

- Realization of New pipelines, securing gas from upstream gas suppliers,

- Drafting Legal framework of Renewable energy,

- Negotiating for three nuclear power stations in Turkey,

- Continued oil exploration onshore and offshore, investment in hydro-electric power,

- Strategy for more exploitation of local coal mining,

- Crises management during coal disasters in Soma, Ermenek,

His job is now over. We have no doubt that he was a talented politician, devoted to his job. In the future, attention should be paid to generation more electricity, project finance, market credibility, constructing more power plants, strengthening the long-term policy measures related to energy security and energy efficiency.

Turkey is to continue taking account of the energy security aspects and to focus – in addition to the security of imported energy supply – on the diversity of domestic fabrication of energy production and new renewable energy sources.

We hope better performance from the newcomer.

Oberstdorf, Germany, 15 June 2015

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.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

What is an "Energy Analyst"? Who? What does s/he do? What is the job description?

Dear Colleagues, Dear Energy Professional,

That was in year 2007. After a few trial releases, International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO), reputable well-established Turkish think-tank institution started to publish my articles regularly on their web site "". It was mainly on subjects "energy, thermal power plants". My personal archives were full of energy documents which were accumulation of many years of my professional experience in energy business, and they were largely in English.

International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO) website authors were using "strategic analysts" title in their articles. I preferred to use "Energy Analyst" title as foreign authors were using on energy issues. After a while, local media asked similar articles in Turkish to publish on printed paper as well as on their web sites. Now I am writing weekly articles in both languages. If an article gets enough hits from readers, I notice that it is copied in other web sites as Op-Ed (Opinion Editorial) or title and link address.

In my Turkish column, from time to time, I preferred to write on some other topics, such as on Opera, wine, artisan restaurants to create some diversity in my writings. In principle, I try to avoid to appear on TV screens, similarly I am reluctant to participate to radio programs. I only accept invitations for university panels on energy programs.

Let us explain who the "Energy Analyst" is. What is the job description? What are the qualifications? These issues are not yet very clear. In our country, we are familiar with "financial analyst", "business analyst" or "military analyst" as job description. But the "energy analyst" is a new concept. "Analyst" definition is preferred in USA in recent years to replace "expert, consultant, specialist" terms. On US TV programs, any person who is invited to explain any issue is named as "Analyst" of that subject.

Edward Snow, who released confidential classified documents to public, has worked as "strategic analyst" on a contractual basis in these government institutions. Famous TV name Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters, prefers his title as "Military analyst" in his Fox-TV programs. World famous CNN Commentator CNN, Wolf Blitzer, prefers to be named as "political analyst". Daniel Yergin and Fatih Birol, are two major international names as "Energy analysts" who helps us expanding our horizons in energy business.

An "Energy Analyst" is not a "Consultant", nor an "Advisor". "Advisor" is the definition used for the staff that is close to the public figures in our environment. In our country, many young people are advisors, or deputy counselors of old-school politicians to help them as their foreign language translators, or in their personal web site design, social media support in political activities. The most important job of the advisors is try to find solutions to personal problems of voters, such as finding appropriate hospital /Medical Doctor, a place in student dormitories, job for an unemployed, train/ plane tickets in rush time, night stay in public guesthouses. Advisors or deputy counsellors also prepare draft text for public speech for the politician, information note, twitter, Facebook messages on behalf of the public figure.

In the private sector, new retirees from public sector are hired as "Consultants" or "Advisers" to the board of directors of private companies, as long as the newcomer retiree has still the market value of his capabilities and keeps his/her contacts in the public posts to make the relations easy for the organization.

In most Western European countries and North America, "Energy Analyst" is someone with vast information and experience on on energy issues where he continuously analyzes the situation using analytical methods together with his professional colleagues. "Energy Efficiency", "Renewable Energy", "Energy consumption", "Energy saving", "Energy Balance", "Energy Audit" are covered in their studies of their economic models. In case of any false analysis, the "Analyst" is the sole responsible person who will loose the market credibility. If experience is the key issue to supply, then Consulting is the key word to use the job description.

Consultant does not know everything. S/he advises on the speciality such as technical, financial, legal, marketing. The job can be freelance, part-time or permanent, as modified with the demand to that speciality and the project. The important thing is the value of the experience and the advise supplied to the end client. The Consultant may furnish project feasibility, report energy policy, energy strategy and market analysis based on the prevailing market situations. Decisions should be taken by the client as executive action and Consultants should not be the decision makers.

So what/ who is an "Energy Analyst"? Definition is given by Google search,
An "Energy Analyst" gathers the market information, evaluates, makes strategic predictions, observes prevailing market prices, follows the trends, puts them in writing for printed or web media sources so that these informations help investors for their new investments, directing decision-makers on energy issues, producing common solutions for the energy markets, informing the public institutions.

"Energy Analyst" does not know everything, even more s/he does not know everything correct. It is important to make an interpretation as starter for a decision making process. If there is a review good or bad, then there is an opportunity to refine and update that review to make it better. Physical realities do not change. But social or economical believes do vary depending on geography, time, society. The social truth generally accepted in Saudi Arabia, may be perceived wrong in New Zealand. A normal situation for everyone in Istanbul, may be interpreted differently in Diyarbakır or Artvin. Similarly a notion generally accepted in 100 or 200 years ago, may not be the same today.

My interpretation is that professional support of an "Energy Analyst" is a mostly short term investment. But in case of longterm projects "Energy Analyst" can work in Company's full-time staff. They can work in fixed or flextime conditions. Technical training in the university is not enough to be an "Energy Analyst". An Energy Analyst should work in energy business for many years as operator, project manager, negotiator, implementer, to get experience in every responsibility.

Do we earn money in this business? Yes, in developed countries. An "Energy Analyst" gets reasonable money for the reports, articles, forecasts, recommendations. If employed for special projects, they earn money on daily basis plus reimbursement for living in 4-5 star accommodation and business class traveling expenses. The figures are now almost standard, and there is not much bargaining. If these expenses are not paid, then there is no premium service available for the demanding party. As everywhere, we have companies in Istanbul, serving international companies, in this context.

Earlier there were many international "Energy Analyst" posts in "" professional social medium in foreign environment but not local names. Now our local energy companies, local investment groups, banking sector get used to "Energy Analyst" post as their staff. We hope that in the future, we shall see them further institutionalized.

Oberstdorf, Germany, 08 June 2015

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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