Turkey's transmission system operator TEIAS has signed a long-term agreement for a permanent connection to the continental European grid, following a trial period that started in September 2010.
One of the largest AC synchronous grids in the world, ENTSO-E's Continental Europe grid, now serves an additional 75 million consumers in Turkey. The agreement is momentous since there has never been such a legally binding contract on energy between a European organization and Turkey before.
Benefits of extending ENTSO-E grid
According to Pierre Bornard, ENTSO-E Chairman and Deputy CEO of RTE, the French transmission system operator, the agreement will benefit the consumer since there will be an increase in electricity trade, more sharing of power reserves, as well as escalated security and mutual aid in emergency situations.
Janez Kopac, Director of the Energy Community Secretariat, says that this agreement will push energy development forward on both sides. Kopac pointed out that Turkey is well advanced if not ahead in many ways as regard to the electricity sector. The Turkish Undersecretary of Energy and Natural Resources, Metin Kilci, explained that Turkey shares the same environmental standards as the European Union and has progressed a lot on the liberalization of its electricity sector.
Konstantin Staschus, ENTSO-E Secretary General, pointed to the crucial role played by electricity interconnections for integration. “If there is no interconnection nothing can be done on integration from the political side of things or the markets. Electricity interconnection is the foundation for integration.”
Acting Deputy General Manager, Ibrahim Balanuye, and Mehmet Kara, from TEIAS’ International Relations Department explained that interconnection with European neighbours actually helped restore power after the blackout on 31 March-the worst in 15 years.
“The interconnector behaved as it should,” added Bornard. “Power systems are one of the most complex machines ever built. Running such machines is a huge task. Making all power systems operate at the same heartbeat is another great challenge. But the benefits far outweigh the costs.”
Electricity integrations leads the way
According to Jerzy Buzek, MEP, (Industry, Research and Energy Committee Chair, energy integration plays a critical role in economic recovery.
Buzek is convinced that the “Energy Union should not be a union of 28 but a union of at least 36, including our neighbours in the Energy Community. Turkey should be part of the Energy Union.” Through interconnection with Greece and Bulgaria, Turkey can import 550MW of electricity and export 400MW. There are plans to increase this capacity.
Continental Europe also has synchronous AC connections with Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia via the narrow strait of Gibraltar.
But several European countries such as Britain, Ireland, the Baltic states and the Nordic states are connected to the continental grid via direct current lines, which work better for subsea cables and long-distance connections