The Akbelen Forest And Obsolete Coal Power Plants- OpEd


Despite the resistance of the local villagers on 780 acres of land in the Akbelen woodland, the forest administration is cutting down beautiful trees under the protection of the gendarmerie. Since the beginning of the week, approximately 20 thousand trees have been felled.

Locals are protesting the actions of Turkish company YK Energy, which aims to expand its coal mine to feed the Yeniköy and Kemerköy power plants, which already have criminal records for non-compliance with environmental norms. The FGD and ESP investments of the power plants were made before and after the privatization. It was known that the coal reserves were running low at the mine site during the privatization in 2014, when the open mining field reserves of the plants were exhausted, they had to switch to the more expensive underground mining.

In fact, the coal production licenses cover a very large area, and since the production has become very expensive, the state forest administration has taken the gendarmerie behind them, allowing the tree cutting to start in the Akbelen forest.

The Yeniköy Power Plant was put into operation in 1986, a hard-working, almost 40-year-old power plant with problems in design, it was privatized when it should have been closed and sold as scrap. The Kemerköy Power Plant is near the sea and is far from the coal field. Companies that buy and sell knew the power plants were too old, and that the electricity produced in both plants was expensive, capacity mechanism support was given, environmental rehabilitations were exempted, afforestation was carried out — and still the yield was below acceptable sector figures. Everything was done wrong, mistakes continued to be made, these ancient power plants have completed their economic life, 

Unfortunately, the decision has been to seek to extend the life of these old power plants. As such, they will continue to pollute the environment. The must be replaced by renewable, storage wind and solar hydro power plant projects. 

Disturbing the people and the environment to such a degree will only cause a public relations disaster, the closure of the sources of financial funds and a negative image transformation.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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