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Turkey to receive US$12 billion for coal investment

Foreign energy companies are keen on investing in one of Turkey's largest coal deposits in the Afsin Elbistan region in the south eastern part of the country, according to energy officials. With a $12 billion investment, three additional thermal coal plants are to be constructed by the proposed project which will have the capacity to produce 8,000 megawatts of electricity making it the largest coal-powered electricity generation plant in Turkey.  Companies from Qatar, South Korea and China are competing for the purchase of the coal plant, energy officials told Anadolu Agency on Thursday. "Qatar is ahead on the race to invest. We haven't reached a final decision and we are still open to proposals. But if an agreement is not reached, we will begin the project through domestic investments by the end of the year," added the officials. The Afsin Elbistan region is rich in coal reserves with around 40 percent of Turkey's known lignite reserves. There are currently two thermal plants capable of producing 2,800 megawatt electricity, and the proposal includes the use of 85 million tons of local coal to produce 45 billion kilowatt per hour of electricity. Construction of the power plants will employ around 15,000 workers, and once operational, 3,000 will be employed in the power stations and in the coal mines in the region.

Turkey ranks second after China in the increase in demand for electricity. The country has an ambitious energy program to supply its energy needs which consists of investing more than $100 billion in the next decade. Turkey aims to use its domestic energy resources such as coal, hydro, solar and wind, and also plans to construct two nuclear power plants to diversify energy sources.

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