Muharrem Balat, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of MB Holding, the first investor of the private sector in geothermal electricity generation, explained geothermal to the reporters of Ekonomist Journal.
MB Holding, which has investments in the construction, energy, medical textile, construction, tourism, construction sectors, invested 400 million dollars to Aydın, which was selected as the center for the generation of geothermal electricity. It is planned to expand such investments more in the next two years. MB Holding, which also started greenhousing in the region by benefitting from the geothermal investments also is getting prepared for geothermal hotel investment.
Balat is a businessman of Gaziantep origin. He also is in the tax record-holders list of the city. The reason for investing in Aydın goes back to 16 years. Balat who stated that geothermal areas were found as a result of the researches carried out here by MTA, said that the required permissions for the investment were obtained following the liberalization process in the energy market in 2006. Muharrem Balat underlining that they had established the first private geothermal power plant of Turkey this way, informed that currently they had started the investment for Dora-4 geothermal power plant as Menderes Geothermal Elektrik Üretim A.Ş. Describing that they had started the construction of 17 MW at the first stage, Balat expresses that also the new project is located in the same area.
Muharrem Balat, who said that 25% of the investment of total 400 million dollars since 2006 were provided from the equities and the remaining portion was provided by using credit facilities, stated that they have a total installed capacity of 72 MW and that the share of Energy area which has a share of 60% share in the turnover shall increase in the next term.
ENERGY, THE FLAGSHIP
Muharrem Balat, the founder of MB Holding, which realized a turnover of 150 Million Dollars with 5 companies within its structure, stepped into the business life in 1968 in the field of construction with Baltaş company. Balat produced 30.000 houses for TOKİ under contracting business. Although the construction sector was important for the Company for a long period of time, the energy sector became the flagship in the recent years. Energy sector which has 60% share in the turnover is said to increase its share in the following term.
WE ARE THE LEADER IN GEOTHERMAL
Muharrem Balat, who is also the Chairman of International Geothermal Energy Union, says that geothermal energy is a very important resource for Anatolia, but it could not converted into an opportunity until now. Underlining that they had undertaken an important mission as Company by establishing the first private geothermal power plant of Turkey, Balat emphasizes that they played the leading role in the development of geothermal energy in Turkey. He tells that Menderes Geothermal ElektrikÜretim A.Ş. targets to meet gradually increasing electricity energy demand with alternative, environment-friendly, renewable resources.
Muharrem Balat informs that they had reached 54 MW generation capacity of which the investment capacity is completed and energy sales are realized, following Dora-1 with 8,5 MW power, which was the first geothermal power plant in Aydın.
He indicates that this figure shall rise up to 400 MW upon completion of the investments in progress.
TWO THIRDS FROM AYDIN
Muharrem Balat, continues as; “By bringing the environment-friendly energy resource geothermal energy in the economy, we reduced the carbon dioxide emission when compared to energy generation from the similar carbon fuels as well as contributing to the reduction of the foreign exchange inflow spent on petroleum. If we are to express in figures; annual 32.000 tons of carbon dioxide emission reduction is provided in the first project, 45.000 tons in Dora-2 project, 110.000 tons in Dora-3 project. Upon commissioning of Dora-4 project, all the electricity energy need of the facilities in Aydın shall be provided from Dora facilities.
In Turkey, two thirds of the geothermal electricity generation is provided by Aydın. Total installed geothermal energy plant power reached 334 MW. Muharrem Balat says that upon commissioning of the new investments in the new fields in 2015, this figure shall increase up to 400 MW in turkey in general. Balat describes the target for 2023 as 1000 MW.
SHALL CONSTRUCT A THERMAL HOTEL
On the other hand, MB Holding also uses the geothermal energy in the field of agriculture. The tomatoes produced in Sultan Sera established by the Company in Aydın are exported abroad. Muharrem Balat underlines that half of the tomatoes produced here are sold to the Netherlands. Balat adds that their target is to carry Sultan Sera to a size of 160 m. Stating that the steam of the current geothermal investments shall also grow the greenhousing area, Balat emphasizes that also new touristic facilities shall be opened in the next process in order to benefit from the steam. The first project with respect to this is being developed. Muharrem Balat, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of MB Holding, who states that the target mass in this project shall be European aged tourists, also states that they are discussing the hotel issue with a Spanish architecture company, which shall cost about 20 Million Dollars. Balat says that in addition to Aydın’s geothermal assets, its proximity to the ancient cities which are important cultural heritages, shall also attract the attention of the tourists. Balat also emphasizes that the hotel to be constructed shall be close to Dora Geothermal Electricity Generation Facilities.
SHALL OPEN GAZİANTEP HİLTON NEXT OCTOBER
Before the hotel to be constructed in Aydın, MB Holding had taken the first step in this field in Gaziantep. The hotel, for which the construction was started in this city about one and a half year ago shall be opened this October. Muharrem Balat, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of MB Holding, states that the hotel to be implemented with an investment of 18 million dollars, located in central Gaziantep, on Gazi Muhtar Paşa Boulevard, shall be operated by Hilton. Balat emphasizes that the hotel with 107 rooms shall have significant contributions to the tourism and economy of the city.