Mümtaz Derya Tarhan
Local governments are leading the way in community-based renewable energy generation in Turkey
Previously at The Community Power Report, we highlighted two village-based projects from Turkey: one solar, one wind, both spearheaded by locals to respond to their own unique needs.
This time, we are first taking you to the Gürsu District. Gürsu is located in Turkey’s northwestern city of Bursa; an industrial hub that has constantly been seeing its population rise over the years. As more factories and offices are established, and more migrant workers arrive to the city, the city’s energy needs also soared. The case is no different in Gürsu, where many of its inhabitants work in surrounding industrial facilities.
Given the rising electricity prices in Turkey in general, a high proportion of household and government budget is spent on electricity bills. Most of the electricity production is centralized, which puts local energy supply in times of need at risk. Moreover, urban sprawl and industrial expansion are putting a high burden on the local population’s quality of life.
|Source: Olay Haber|
In response to all of the above-mentioned problems, Gürsu District decided to put solar energy into use. Spearheaded by the local government, the 670,950 TL (approx. USD 370,000) project aims to provide power for traffic and street lights, irrigation and lighting of public parcs and gardens, cell phone charging stations and water-heating.
And most importantly, Head of Gürsu Municipality Orhan Özcü notes that the project is aimed at educating the public and private sectors, and ultimately the general public about the benefits of renewable and solar energy.
Our next stop is Southern Turkey; the City of Mersin’s Taşucu District.
We all know about the ‘sister city’ tradition where cities from two different parts of the world establish official and unofficial economic and cultural partnerships. Well, Taşucu’s sister village is that of Bergkamen located in Western Germany.
|Source: Taşucu Belediyesi|
When Taşucu became interested in renewable energy, they decided to take benefit of the expertise within the ‘family’. Bergkamen, a small town with big expertise in renewable energy project development, pledged 5,000 Euros to help out its ‘sister’ make its public buildings energy-self-sufficient through solar panels.
The 30 kW solar system is considered as only a start by Taşucu’s local authorities; they already had studies conducted to identify new sites for larger projects.
The involvement and leadership shown by Turkey’s local authorities in decentralized renewable energy deployment is inspiring. The hope now is for the general public to actually take this inspiration and the national government to establish policies and support mechanisms, so that communities can start developing their own clean electricity through at the grassroots level.