Hürriyet Daily News - Turkey plans to establish a 3,500-megawatt (MW) thermal power plant with a USD 5 billion investment in the western province of Afyon, which possesses 950 million tons of lignite, the energy minister said yesterday.
Taner Yıldız said in a written statement that the exploration by the Mineral Research and Exploration General Directorate (MTA) in the Dinar district of Afyon, which has been continuing for five years, had now been completed and that they had discovered lignite reserves in the area totaling around 950 million tons.
“We aim to build a thermal power plant, worth USD 5 billion, that will have 3,500 MW of power. It means employment for 6,000 or 7,000 in the plant’s construction and the mining sector,” he said.
The minister said they aimed to end Turkey’s dependence on USD 12 billion worth of natural gas imports with power plants fired by domestic coal. Turkey produces around half of its electricity from natural gas, a source for which it is largely dependent on Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan.
Turkey has recently been encouraging the construction of coal-burning plants in an effort to break its large dependence on natural gas. Yıldız said the investment in high-calorie local coal would be profitable for both Afyon and Turkey. The scope of state incentives for coal-mining investments was expanded with a decision by the Cabinet declared on May 31. The recent incentive system, which came into force on June 20, 2012, had allocated incentives to only low-calorie coal (low C class), but the recent decision will allow for incentives to be given also to high-calorie coal.