From left to right:
Ibrahim Balanuye, Pierre Bornard,
Juraj Nociar, Konstantin Staschus,
'We are very proud to welcome Turkey in the European house of transmission system operators', said
Pierre Bornard, ENTSO-E Chairman and Deputy CEO of RTE, the French transmission system operator, as he opened the ceremony marking the extension of Europe's Continental synchronous grid to Turkey. 'Electricity interconnection brings social welfare. This agreement means more electricity trade, more sharing of power reserves, more security and mutual help in emergency situations. All of this benefits the consumer', said
'I am very happy to attend this very visible step forward in promoting our common energy policy beyond EU borders' said
Jerzy Buzek, MEP, ITRE Committee Chair. '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', Buzek added.
Represented by the Head of Cabinet of the Vice President Šefčovič,
Juraj Nociar, the European Commission insisted that this is also the view of the Commission and that the Energy Union Communication already looks at countries outside of the EU, including Turkey. 'The Commission has decided to upgrade the cooperation with Turkey on energy', said Nociar. Last month, Vice-President Šefčovič visited Turkey and officially launched the High Level Energy Dialogue.
Janez Kopac, Director of the Energy Community Secretariat, today's signature is 'truly historical. Never before has there been such a legally binding contract on energy between a European organisation and Turkey'. Kopac hopes that this agreement will push things ahead on both sides and that 'Europe will find the right forum to bring Turkey on board.' Kopac pointed out that Turkey is well advanced if not ahead in many ways as regard to the electricity sector.
Konstantin Staschus, ENTSO-E Secretary General, insisted also on 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.'
The Turkish Undersecretary of Energy and Natural Resources,
Metin Kilci, underlined that his country shares the same environmental standards as the European Union and has progressed a lot on the liberalisation of its electricity sector. Represented by Acting Deputy General Manager,
Ibrahim Balanuye, and
Mehmet Kara, from the International Relations Department, the Turkish transmission system operator TEIAS explained that 'interconnection with European neighbours actually helped restore power after the blackout on 31 March' which was caused by a combination of events internal to the Turkish power system. 'The interconnector behaved as it should', added
Pierre 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'.
Jerzy Buzek also raised the importance of energy as a precondition to economic recovery. He referred to the very start of the EU project with the Coal and Steel Community.
Pierre Bornard added that UCTE, the ancestor of ENTSO-E, preceded CECA by one year showing that 'electricity integration is often leading the way'. Through interconnection with Greece and Bulgaria Turkey can import 550 megawatts of electricity and export 400 megawatts. There are plans to increase this capacity. The ceremony was concluded by a round of applause as TEIAS signed for the occasion the final copy of the long-term agreement on synchronisation.
Pierre Bornard is convinced that 'this is the start of a very long story of formal cooperation bringing ever more benefits to customers.'
From left to right:
Jerzy Buzek, Pierre Bornard,
ENTSO-E Regional Group Continental Europe