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Heritage vs. energy  

TURKEY – The private sector is having a hard time finding a suitable area for energy investments as second- and third-degree nature areas have also been closed to energy investments.

After the prompting of the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA), the Council of State annulled the decision of the High Council for the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage that allowed energy investments in second- and third-degree areas. After the decision, the investments for plants generating electricity through wind power, solar energy or water will face problems in land allocation. It is expected that this decision will adversely affect wind power plant applications to the Energy Market Regulatory Agency (EPDK).

TEMA did not bring this issue to the Council of State with the expectation that it would block renewable energy, said Selahattin Baysal, chairman of the Wind Energy Power Plants Investors Association (RESYAD). However, those willing to establish wind power plants will face great difficulties in finding the land, he added. The areas with strong winds, such as the Çe?me Peninsula, Ayval?k, Çanakkale- Gelibolu, will be closed to renewable energy investments due to this decision, said Baysal, adding that the private sector will face great obstacles when trying to obtain construction permits.

Within the current framework, military and archaeological sites as well as zones where radio and television equipment is situated, nature parks, hunting and wildlife protection areas are not open to investments, said Baysal. A legal arrangement may be required to fix this problem, he added.

Permits for tourism and housing

In the Council of State’s related decision, second-degree natural sites are defined as areas whose use for public benefit will be allowed as long as the environment is protected. No construction will be allowed in those areas except tourism investments, facilities with operating license and service-oriented buildings.

Third-degree sites are defined as areas where housing can be allowed within the framework of the protection and development of the natural structure considering the potential of the region. Regarding the foresight of the High Commission for the Protection of Cultural and Natural Heritage that ?energy power plants can be established without damaging nature,? the Council of State’s decision said the plants may damage the environment.

BEGÜM GÜRSOY

Turkish Daily News

8 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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