Justin Vela

Posts Tagged ‘energy

Coal mining in Turkey

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Am posting this a little late. Last month, I visited a coal mine in Turkey’s northern Zonguldak province. Situated along the Black Sea coast, Zonguldak produces most of Turkey’s coal.

Descending into the mine was not for the faint-hearted. Last January, eight miners died after a methane gas leak. But the miners do it everyday, despite the dangers.

Here is the story


Written by Justin Vela

September 14, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Zorlu targets renewables and coal over gas // Platts

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Published by Platts Energy in East Europe / ISSUE 264 / May 3, 2013

Justin Vela, Istanbul

Turkish independent power producer Zorlu Enerji is focusing its investments in renewables and coal to create a more balanced generation mix and reduce the impact of rising gas prices on its gas heavy portfolio. The third biggest of five electricity producers listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange, Zorlu Enerji saw its operational profit eroded in 2012 for the second year running by gas prices rising faster than electricity prices.

The energy arm of the Zorlu Group posted a net profit of TRY 589 million last year on the back of a 19.9% rise in revenues to TRY 525 million but only because of a one- off gain of TRY 756 million from a reversal of losses as a result of the transfer of its stake in its Russian gas- fired power plant venture Rosmiks to its parent company last December. It was still a major improvement on 2011, when it reported a net loss of TRY 407 million.

“We don’t build our strategy only on gas prices, but focus on long term strategy in a broader perspective,” Ali Kindap, the company’s deputy general manager told Platts in an interview. With a goal to more than double its installed capacity at home and abroad to 1,500 MW by 2017, Zorlu is doing its best to “meet increasing energy demand in Turkey and globally in a rational and environmentally compliant manner,” said Sinan Ak, the company’s chief executive.

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Written by Justin Vela

May 3, 2013 at 10:20 am

Bosporus Blog…Kurds & Arabs and Syria’s Oil…

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Weeks of fighting gave way earlier this month to the quiet of a ceasefire agreement signed by militants in Ras Al Ayn, a mixed town of Arabs, Kurds, and Christians in northern Syria.

Beginning in November, Arab rebels seeking to oust the regime of Bashar Al Assad fought Kurdish militants affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The Arab fighters accuse the PYD of collaborating with the regime. The fight was exacerbated by localized tensions between Kurds and Arabs, who have not always gotten along well in Syria’s northern, oil-rich Jazira region. I wrote about the ceasefire for The National.

There might be as much as 3.15 billion barrels of undiscovered oil reserves in northern Syria, along with 6.9 billion barrels of discovered reserves, according to an article in The National Interest. This is not the same kind of oil wealth that can be found in Northern Iraq, for example, but it is not insignificant.

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Written by Justin Vela

February 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Turkey’s green energy village…

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Istanbul- Last week I published a story on green energy in Turkey with EurasiaNet.org

Turkey: Betting on Wind Power, One Village at a Time

The story focuses on the rural village of Akbiyik in Turkey’s Western Bursa province, which has high hopes for a windmill it built to provide green energy.

From the story:

Akbiyik, a village with 365 residents in Turkey’s western Bursa province, has a head start on the country’s plans to increase domestic energy production. The reason is simple — it has a wind turbine and villagers eager to capitalize on a government push toward alternative energies.

Read the full article with a photo essay here. 

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Written by Justin Vela

October 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Russian-Turkish Pipeline May Leave Out Israel…

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Israelis dance at the Sulha Peace Festival in Latrun, Israel in August 2008.

ISTANBUL-Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and a host of other world leaders are assembled today in Istanbul for a regional security summit.

In the early morning a roadside bomb exploded on the outskirts of the city, injuring 15 people, including at least 2 policemen. The attack is said to be unrelated to the summit, which appears to have gone off smoothly.

I have a new article out here on Russian PM Putin’s announcement that the Blue Stream II pipeline, which runs through Turkey, will not bring Russian energy to Israel as planned.

Read the article here.

You can expect to hear a lot more about the pipelines running through Turkey in the next few years, especially the competing Nabucco and South Stream pipelines which are set to bring natural gas to Europe. Turkey is seeking to turn itself into a regional hub for these pipelines, a position that will add to the country’s already growing wealth and power.

Though Putin stressed that Israel perhaps not being included in the Blue Stream II project was based in commercial reasons-Israel recently discovered more of its own energy resources and might not need the energy from Blue Stream-there was a general consensus among the assembled leaders that there needed to be an investigation into the Israeli boarding of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara last week, which left nine Turks dead.

Israel is continuing to be defiant in the face of international demands for an investigation into the incident. Though among most Israelis there is a real desire for peace, many feel that they are suffering from a double standard being set by the rest of the world after their soldiers tried to defend themselves while being attacked. The entire boarding of the Mavi Marmara was done with the intent to protect Israel and to not allow any precedent of ships running their blockade of Gaza, they feel.

The botched and unprofessional boarding of the ship, followed by poorly constructed propaganda meant to present their side of the story, has made global opinion of Israel drop to a new low and left the country further isolated. From insulting the very pro-Israel US vice-president Joe Biden to this raid on the Turkish boat, Turkey being their closest ally in the region, Israel appears to be uninterested in diplomacy. This stems from a fear that Israel is in danger of ceasing to exist and that the rest of the world is not allowing it the ability to protect itself. When caged, the natural tendency is to lash out and should Israel engage in any large scale military efforts, as it regularly does, the results may be even messier than usual. Whenever I’ve traveled in Israel people have expressed hopes for peace, but also a disenchantment with the way the rest of the world sees their position. Though they have the backing of most of the world’s powers they still feel victimized, that a double standard has been set against them.

Speaking about investigations…the UN is set to vote this week on sanctions for Iran.

Just as defiant as Israel, today in Istanbul Iranian President Ahmadinejad said that new sanctions would mean he will walk away from the negotiating table over Iran’s nuclear program.

I contributed reporting to an article on that issue here.

Written by Justin Vela

June 8, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Finland’s green database center…

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The tunnel leading to a WWII bomb shelter where the Finnish IT company Academica will store the country's first green database center. Helsinki, Finland. 4 March 2010.

Helsinki-Today I am doing an article on an eco-friendly database center in Helsinki.

This is my second article on the database center. The Finnish IT company Academica developed the idea with the energy company Helsingin Energia to use the heat created by the database center in Helsinki homes.

Academica’s Pietari Paivanen recently told me,  “There have been smaller implementations of similar systems. Data centers being used to heat parking lots. No one has conducted the heat towards a central heating system however.”

Earlier today I met Paivanen and Juha Sipilä from Helsingin Energia. They explained that this idea, while it makes use of pre-existing technologies, can be applied especially well in Helsinki because of the city’s extensive underground tunnel system. Interest is already growing however. Sipilä just returned from a EU commission sponsored trip where mayors from around Europe applauded the system. Already plans are being made for another database center in Helsinki which will provide heat for more homes.

Written by Justin Vela

March 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Europe

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Heat for Heating at Allvoices.com

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A woman walks around the 150 year old Uspenski Cathedral in downtown Helsinki, Finland on 6 December 2009.

Helsinki-Read my story on a database center heating homes in Helsinki at Allvoices.com

I became involved with Allvoices last week when I saw their posting on JournalismJobs.com

Allvoices, one of the largest global citizen journalism sites, recently hired 50 journalists from around the world to bring a wider range of stories and additional credibility to their  stories.

This is an exciting opportunity that will have me working on 2-3 stories a month for Allvoices, as well as continuing to freelance.

An excerpt from my story on the database servers:

“We have to be realistic. There is really no other choice. Our customers are forcing us to look at more environmentally friendly ways of doing business. And there is the saving cost. There is not any conflict between those areas. People believed a couple of years ago that being Green meant higher costs. This is not necessarily the way anymore.”

Written by Justin Vela

December 7, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Posted in Enviroment, Europe

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