Sanko Enerji invests in hybrid plants

Sanko Holding’s energy sector subsidiary, Sanko Enerji, says it will transform its existing power plants to hybrid plants with 100 MW (megawatt) solar power stations, according to Hakan Yildirim, CEO of Sanko Enerji. The company is also preparing to increase its total installed power to over 900MW by completing wind and geothermal investments which are currently under construction.

Sanko Enerji is among Turkey’s largest energy companies, with and installed capacity expected to reach 1,000 MW this year. The company’s installed capacity is completely based on renewable sources focusing on three fields, hydroelectricity, wind energy and geothermal energy. “The history of our power plants goes back 15 years ago. We are a group that considered renewable energy as a megatrend in the older days,” said Yildirim.

Sanko Enerji also has ongoing wind farm investments. “These are projects that we put into use from our 2020 investments in turbines,” said Yildirim, stressing that the remaining turbines will come into play by August, bringing Sanko’s total wind farm capacity to 300 MW. Moreover, these turbines will also benefit from renewable energy supports and price guarantees provided by the government’s Renewable Energy Support Mechanism (YEKDEM).

But Sanko Enerji’s ambitions are not limited to what it has already accomplished. The company aims to make hybrid investments in the next 1.5 years, part of which will involve installing 100 MW solar energy systems in its existing power plants as supplementary resources. In this way, the gap will be filled by solar energy in the periods of time when wind doesn’t blow. “These hybrid power plants will be prominent in the near future,” Yildirim said.

Regarding the company’s geothermal investment portfolio, Yildirim said Sanko Enerji has built the most efficient geothermal power plants and has drilled the most productive wells in the country. “Geothermal is a really difficult field. For instance, one well generates 25 MW of energy. It’s important to develop this both in an efficient and environmentally friendly way,” he added. The Sanko Enerji’s Salihli-1 Geothermal Power Plant (GPP), became operational in 2017 while Salihli-2 and Salihli-3 GPPs went online in 2019 in Manisa. “Our goal with Salihli is to make our GPP here the most efficient and environmentally-friendly power plant in the world,” Yildirim said.

Sanko Enerji helps Salihli Municipality’s urban heating with its GPPs, with the four new wells it has drilled on the Municipality’s site, doubling the fluid amount this year. Moreover, the company has undertaken the entire cost of the work. Although the municipality has its own resources for additional heating for customers, the number of customers have increased from 4,000 to 8,000 in this way. “This is a kind of social responsibility project for us,” said Yildirim. Sanko Enerji has invested nearly TRY 8m in developing the Municipality’s production wells and has appointed two teams to operate the Municipality’s reservoir. The company has also purchased pumps for injection wells on the request of the Municipality.

Addressing the potential for natural gas infrastructure to be built in Salihli, Yildirim emphasized that the district’s own geothermal resources are sufficient for its heating. “We’re doing a lot to develop this,” he says, stressing that geothermal is a resource that has remained untapped in Turkey for years. There is 1,600 MW GPPs in the country and as Yildirim says, each resource should be brought in the economy by using the most environmentally-friendly technologies and methods.

Environmentally-safe technology

Geothermal energy plays a substantial role in Sanko Enerji’s electricity generation investments, with the company investing the most environmentally-friendly technology at its 70 MW GPP located in Salihli Manisa, according to Hakan Yildirim. “There is a system pumping the energy, which is locked in the fluid rising up from the bottom back to underground again without reaching the surface. A closed circuit is installed, and hot fluid is circulated in it. Fluid never comes to surface. That’s why it’s environmentally safe,” said Yildirim.

Wind farm power to increase to 11,000 MW

Nearly 1,000 MW of wind farms became operational last year in Turkey, according to Hakan Yildirim. There are currently 1,600 MW of ongoing wind farm projects under construction. 9,363 MW of wind farms are operational as of today, 530 MW of which were adopted in the first quarter of the year. “The total installed wind farm capacity will reach 11,000 MW,” said Yildirim.

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