Turkey – an emerging smart grid market

Smart metering, smart grids and smart cities are all emerging in Turkey, ICSG Istanbul 2016 revealed.
Published: Mon 06 Jun 2016

The growing smart energy and smart city activities in Turkey – and the growing interest in these from a global perspective – was reflected in the wide attendance from 50 countries at the 4th ICSG Istanbul 2016 Congress and Fair from April 20-21.

“Smart grid is an inevitable reality in Turkey,” Mehmet Ertürk, vice president of the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA), told Engerati in an onsite studio interview.

The development and wider availability of ICTs and the need to automate the energy sector, along with the growth of renewables, storage and electric vehicles are all contributory factors, he said. A smart grid roadmap is currently under development, which should be completed by the end of the year.

“We are working with all sectors, software companies, consultants, DSOs, government bodies, etc. to define what technologies and functionalities a smart grid for Turkey should have. In the next stage there will be Gap and cost-benefit analyses between the technologies available and the current system and then we will define the timeline to implement these.”

Commenting on the role of smart meters in the Turkish market, which has attracted some discussion, Ertürk says they are an important but costly element and thus, careful thought needs to be given to their implementation. “In areas where there is a lot of theft they will provide large benefits. However, in areas where theft isn’t a problem, grid automation may be a higher priority and the smart meters can come later in the process. That’s why the priorities are important.”

Smart metering in Turkey

Several of Engerati's interviewees also picked up on the smart meter challenges in Turkey, typical of most emerging markets, referring to issues such as standards, the need to keep costs down and future proofing for evolving communications technologies.

A priority in Turkey is to involve end customers in the market, says Furkan Uçar, general manager of Köhler.

Rogier de Jongh, business development manager at Netinium, notes that while smart meters are conceptually straightforward, their detail is complex. The initial focus should be on the business processes, with selection of proven IT systems before adding the meters.

“Turkey is starting out and has the opportunity to take lessons learned from others.”

Similar advice is offered by Mark Ossel, chairman of the OSGP Alliance, saying that utilities should adopt an open architecture to enable them to select from technologies in the market.

“Learn and take advantage of what has been adopted in the market but be able to add new technologies when they come.”

PLC is being widely deployed in Europe and Tamer Tatlici, co-founder of smart metering company aSAY Energy, says he believes that with the large number of apartment dwellers, it offers the best solution for the Turkish market. His company has adopted the OSGP standard for its metering solution – the first of its type in the local market – and a streetlighting solution.

“We have started producing a new generation of smart meters in Turkey, which we believe will change the game,” he comments, with Africa and the Middle East also in his sights.

Marc Delandre, general secretary of the G3-PLC Alliance, also highlights the potential of G3-PLC as a standard for Turkey. The Alliance is currently working with a local utility on pilots in four regions and the hope is these will be expanded eventually into a mass rollout.

Timothy Wells, vice president of Engineering at KG Technologies, notes that while smart meters are getting smaller and cheaper, the requirements, especially pertaining to safety, are becoming more severe. A key issue for the suppliers is cost versus performance.

Check out the full line up of interviews from the Engerati studio at ICSG Istanbul 2016 via this link

Smart grid for Turkey

A common comment from those implementing smart grid is that it requires a change of thinking. Ufuk Özgirgin, general manager of Node Sayaç Çözümleri, which supplies metering solutions from Elster among other companies, says there is a need for a cultural shift in terms of taking a longer term view in Turkey.

“We see a growing need for load management solutions, for example and we need smart metering solutions that can also provide smart city applications.”

“Things are happening in Turkey with investments in generation and transmission and distribution and a strong foundation is being built with technology,” says ‘elder statesman’ of the smart grid – or “smarter grid” as he prefers - John McDonald, Smart Grid Business development leader, North America at GE. The outlook on the energy sector is more exciting than ever before, he comments.

Damir Novosel, president of Quanta Technology, stresses the importance of pilots for smart grid to understand how technologies can help to address the issues and to determine the benefits.

“With a system perspective, the applications can be stacked up to make them cost effective. For example, storage can be used for wind curtailment, frequency regulation or T&D deferral and adding these makes the business case.”

The challenges and opportunities for utilities with distributed energy resources are highlighted by Martin Dunlea, senior director of Industry Strategy, EMEA at Oracle Utilities. Integrating these is giving rise to demands for distribution grid management solutions “to integrate and manage these resources in a coherent way.”

Alper Ugural, CEO of demand response provider Energy Pool Turkey, makes the case for demand response in Turkey, saying that the capacity is “there” and the need is to “unleash its potential.” Regulation is currently in consultation and should be finalised shortly so “we are just at a tipping point with demand response in Turkey.”

Cybersecurity is also of concern and Ozkan Erdogan, cybersecurity researcher at the Hazen Institute, stresses the need for preparedness. “We need to build awareness so that everyone becomes more careful.”

Towards smart cities in Turkey

Cavit Yantak, evangelism lead and deputy general manager at Microsoft Turkey, describes himself as an evangelist who “talks and listens” to build stories to enable the industry to develop. In Turkey the focus is on the CityNext platform, which is aimed to build efficiency and sustainability for cities.

“We work with startups, industry experts and enterprises and aim to bring them together to solve the problems.”

Likewise, users are becoming involved in the development of smart city products and services, through the ‘living lab’ concept, in the Başakşehir district of Istanbul. “People, public authorities and private sector are all important in the process,” explains Ömer Onu, managing director of Başakşehir Living Lab Istanbul.

An example of activities that have been run include hackathons, with one having a focus on traffic issues in Istanbul. The outcomes must have the agreement of users and then they also will likely satisfy the municipality and mayor. “There are lots of winners and no losers if done this way!”

Erman Akgün, Turkey country manager at Hitachi, draws parallels with Turkey to Japan. Both are prone to disasters, being in earthquake zones, both are net energy importers and need to be energy efficient, and both have major traffic problems.

“We want to bring Japanese technology to Turkey but with creative collaboration between Japanese and Turkish partners and the authorities.”

Akgün also stresses the need to make use of Big Data for smart city applications such as disaster management. A demonstration is also under way on traffic management in Istanbul.

Each city has its own challenges and these should form the basis for the smart city strategy, advises Ana Andueza Amann, Smart Cities expert and partner at Deloitte. “Technology should be used to foster development and to solve your problems.”

Typical smart city challenges range around electricity and water use, waste management, transportation and safety, while the longer term challenge is behaviour change, she says.

Each country also has its own challenges and Reji Kumar Pillai, president of the India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF), is insistent that India shouldn’t reinvent the wheel when the country comes to addressing its ones, which include the need for electrification, more generation capacity and improved quality of supply.

“There have been a lot of pilots around the world and we want to learn from these. We may need to customise them but the big picture is the same and so we can work collaboratively as an industry.”

Follow this link for more insights from the Engerati studio at ICSG Istanbul 2016 and to view the full line up of interviews.