Above the town of Cesme, Turkey, on the hills above the Aegean Sea, a west wind blows steadily 10 months of the year. It turns dozens of giant windmills, which in turn send power to Turkey's national electricity grid. 12 of them produce enough energy for a quarter of a million households a year.
And Turkey is, relatively speaking, windy, especially along the Marmara and Aegean coasts.
"Looking at a wind map," says Mehmet Toker, an engineer at the Bilgin Energy wind farm, "I see three sides of Turkey are surrounded by seas, so this means a steady wind stream for the country's energy."
Wind power provides about two percent of Turkey's energy. But thanks to government and international incentives and subsidies for sustainable power, it is expanding quickly. And private companies are moving into the business, spurred by low interest loans and a push from the Turkish government. Turkey produces few fossil fuels, aside from lignite. It relies heavily on imported natural gas. But it is rich in wind, water, and sun—all renewable, non-greenhouse gas producing sources of power.
"We're sure there's a growing market for wind power," explains Vadi Cakmak, the chief technician for Bilgin Energy, as he looks toward the Aegean. "Here, there are plans for 15 more wind parks, so the numbers will increase, even as you move away from the coasts and to the heart of the country."
A Big Investment
The 85-meter, 350-ton turbines cost about $1.3 million dollars each. But with support from the World Bank and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), Turkey is building up its sustainable energy production and energy efficiency. The CTF has pledged $271 million dollars to urge Turkey's market toward advanced renewables and energy savings.
Ercan Sayari manages investments for Nuh, a large Turkish company. He says that without favorable loans, and the push from the CTF, his company could not afford to invest in sustainable power.