Turkey, U.S. Collaborate to Reach Renewable Energy Goals

December 12. 2011

Istanbul — U.S. technology can help Turkey achieve its goals for developing renewable-energy sources and increasing energy efficiency.

That was the message Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance Michael Camuñez brought as he led 16 U.S. renewable-energy and energy-efficiency companies on a trade mission to Turkey December 5–9.

Energy demand in Turkey is expected to grow 5 to 7 percent per year into 2023, requiring more than $100 billion of investment in power generation, transmission and distribution. By 2023, Turkey seeks to produce 30 percent of its power from renewable resources, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass. By increasing renewable-energy and energy-efficiency exports, U.S. firms can help Turkey meet its energy needs while supporting American jobs in the growing clean-energy sector.

Growing the economic partnership between the United States and Turkey was a goal of the trade mission, Camuñez said. He described the trade mission as “enormously successful.”

The success includes the signing of a grant between the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Turkey’s Hema Natural Energy Resources Company. The agency is providing nearly $450,000 for a study that will evaluate the technical, financial, environmental and other critical aspects of a combined coal bed methane-extraction and power-generation project at Hema’s coalfield in the northwestern Anatolian region. If implemented, the project is expected to create a new source of power production in Turkey, generating 800 to 1,000 local jobs and as much as $350 million in U.S. exports.

“The U.S. and Turkey have a natural partnership,” Camuñez said. “One represents the world’s largest economy. The other has one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It makes both business and common sense for us to build our futures together: meeting Turkey’s energy needs, supporting U.S. jobs, and increasing the use of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies and products.”

While in Istanbul, Camuñez met with under secretaries from the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Economy to discuss key policy issues related to advancing trade in the renewable energy space as well as developing the U.S.-Turkey trade relationship.

Trade mission participants met with senior Turkish government officials and private-sector representatives over the course of the mission, which included more than 320 one-on-one meetings, round-table discussions and match-making events in Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul. They also visited the Near Zero Zone Project, a pilot project that pairs 20 Turkish companies in the Ataturk Organized Industrial Zone in Izmir with technical resources and the expertise needed to achieve significant energy savings.

Turkish sponsors of the trade mission included the Ankara Chamber of Industry, the Turkish American Business Association, the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, the Izmir Ataturk Organized Industrial Zone, the Izmir Development Agency, the Turkish Industry and Business Association, and the American Business Forum in Turkey.