Powering Communities Turkey and Citizen Participation %100 Renewable Energy

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  /   1566   /   21 August 2017, Monday

Powering Communities Turkey and Citizen Participation Under the scope of ENERGY EFFICENCY and %100 RENEWABLE PERSPECTIVE By Çiğdem YORGANCIOĞLU


Powering Communities Turkey and Citizen Participation

Under the scope of





Powering Communities Turkey and Citizen Participation

Under the scope of








Image result for powering community energy turkey



Cultivating the efficiency with which energy is consumed by end-users is a central theme of the European Union’s energy policy. Energy efficiency is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to reduce CO2 emissions, contribute to energy security, and help to create new jobs and make European organisation more competitive. Energy efficiency is at the core of the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and of the transition to a resource efficient economy. Energy efficiency is one of the most cost effective ways to enhance security of energy supply, and to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. In many ways, energy efficiency can be seen as Europe’s biggest energy resource. This is why the EU has set itself a target for 2020 of saving 20% of its primary energy consumption compared to projections, and why this objective was identified in the European Commission’s Communication on Energy 2020 as a key step towards achieving our long-term energy and climate goals.[i] Given the facts that we know that Turkey renewable energy targets are as follows: Overall target: 30% of the total electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030 and 20% of national energy bill saved by 2023.

Today, the need for closing the gap between citizens and their government has increased the involvement of citizens in the political process is an indispensable and crucial part of democracy. Tactics and strategies for increased citizen participation in local governance can be observed around the globe. Today, the people are taking the initiative to make their environment more habitable and the relationship between government and society is changing with the citizen participation. [ii]Citizen Participation (CP)   is a process which encourages and delivers private individuals an opportunity to influence public decisions and has long been a component of the democratic decision-making process.  Ordinary citizens assess their own needs, and participate in local project planning and budget monitoring which enables citizens to prioritize their needs and watch public allocations and resources to the public projects. Subsequently the better management for public resources and less corrupt practices can be achieved via CP. In the meantime local authorities playing a more supportive role, refers “Government participation” in this connotation. However, active citizens don't want the government to provide standard solutions for everything anymore. They prefer a tailor-made approach and authorities that think along with them. So citizens and government are devising new ways of relating to each other and working together – in what is often called a 'do-ocracy'. Central government is keen to promote and support this form of democratic collaboration. The government can support citizen participation in various ways, for instance by abolishing unnecessary, redundant rules and regulations wherever possible. Like the complex application procedures volunteers sometimes have to contend with to obtain funding for their activities.  Building positive relationships at a local level became essential. The Societies create and support community benefit funds, empowering communities to control how this money is spent to best serve the needs of the local area.


 As a result of engaging citizens in local governance, local authorities begin to improve their ability to solve problems of citizens, there are numerous mechanisms and practices of consultation and accountability to communities, communities with further level of participation tend to become more inclusive, solid and cohesive, and increase in the number and quality of initiatives collectively made by communities. Surely alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques including mediation, facilitation etc. is being used in mechanisms which is my fields of expertise and interest that inspires me to write another article with that focus.


Powering Communities [iii](PC) is supported under Civil Society Dialogue Programme[iv] which aims to bring together civil society organizations from Turkey and the EU around common topics, to exchange knowledge and experience, and to build a sustained conversation between them. More than 450 partnership projects have been financed under this Programme which started in 2008. The first phase of the Programme was implemented during 2008-2009 period. In this phase, 19,3 million Euros of financial support was granted to 119 projects designed and implemented by municipalities, professional organizations, universities, and youth organizations from Turkey and the EU for their dialogue and networking activities. In total, these projects helped to foster 153 civil society partnerships from Turkey, involving organizations from 21 different EU Member States.  In the second phase of the Programme, (2010-2012) focusing on Culture & Arts, and Agriculture & Fisheries, 41 dialogue projects were successfully completed, with a budget of over 5 million Euros and involving more than 160 different CSOs from Turkey and the EU. In addition, almost 300 thousand Euros supported the award of micro grants that helped small size dialogue ideas of CSOs. The third phase of the Programme (2014-2015) hosted dialogue projects from civil society organizations and institutions from Turkey and Europe that are active in the fields of media and the EU accession political criteria. 2.1 million Euros was granted to 16 dialogue projects of media institutions, to help support their role in making the EU, its values and the benefits of membership better known to the public both in Turkey and the EU member states. Grants amounting to 4.9 million Euros were awarded to 39 projects on three main priorities: human rights, anti-discrimination and democracy and the rule of law with the goal of enabling civil society to make its contributions to the political reform process and to assist it in conveying the results of this process to the public.


 In this fourth phase of the Programme (which also known as the New Phase)[v], total of 80 projects developed on energy; environment; justice; freedom and security; consumer and health protection; regional policy and coordination of structural instruments; right of establishment and freedom to provide services; enterprise and industrial policy; agriculture and fisheries; and education are being realized by Turkish and European civil society organizations (CSO). [vi]


[vii]The Programme is co-financed by the European Union and Republic of Turkey under Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). The Ministry for European Union Affairs is the responsible institution for the technical implementation of the programme, while the Central Finance and Contracts Unit is the Contracting Authority of the Programme


Approximately 11 million Euro financial supports is being provided. The Ministry for European Union Affairs is the responsible institution for the technical implementation of the programme, while the Central Finance and Contracts Unit is the Contracting Authority of the Programme.

As the Civil and political rights, comprising freedom of expression and access to information, which are at the basis of political participation, are human rights in themselves.  So to increase the understanding and acceptance of the principles of community power among local communities in Turkey and to enhance the capacity of community actors in Turkey to initiate and implement community power projects in their communities. are two major objectives of the  Project .Awareness on the use of renewable energy in local CSO’s, local authorities and public in .Çanakkale, Burdur, Van and Diyarbakır will be increased. It is also aimed to transfer the knowledge and experience from Denmark in order to strengthen the practices in Turkey.



Project details

Categories:                              Energy

Grant Beneficiary                   Avrupa Yenílenebilir Enerji Birligi Turkiye Bölümü - Eurosolar (Turkey)

Co-beneficiaries:                     Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energy (Denmark)

Project Budget:                       166.394,34 Euro

Project Duration                      12 months

Locations of actions                Burdur, Çanakkale, Diyarbakır, Van (Turkey), Thy Area (Denmark)



In fact, the Grant Beneficiary of the Project, EUROSOLAR the European Association for Renewable Energy -Turkey (The head of Eurosolar based in Germany) works for the rapid and complete removal of nuclear and fossil energies through renewable energies. EUROSOLAR believes the fact that 100% renewable energy is actually a attainable target. Since its foundation in the late 1980s, EUROSOLAR has contributed significantly to the development of a renewable energy supply. In the past, the organization created an impact through active public relations, relevant conferences and events, as well as through political initiatives. EUROSOLAR ,the European Association for Renewable Energy, in order to reach her  aim of a quick, affordable and decentralized energy supply with 100% renewables, a network of European section is working together. In 13 European countries EUROSOLAR-sections are working for a successful energy transition in their country. Tying together the best experts in each country, EUROSOLAR keeps an overview of the political barriers in each country, the challenges to the implementation of renewable energy and the opportunities that arise from the national framework conditions. In 2002, EUROSOLAR was established as a Turkish unit in order to bring together efforts, ideas, actions to form a long-term and holistic energy strategy to transform the renewable energy resources in Turkey in line with the principles and goals of EUROSOLAR.


Regarding the Project Motivation, the concept of community power, or community-owned energy, will be of significant relevance to accomplish the transition to a low carbon society and fossil-free energy system in a successful and cost optimal way. The European Union (EU), which has set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has pointed empowerment of citizens as one of the 5 keys to achieve the environmental and energy targets. In line with this, community power is a growing movement for energy supply across Europe. However, in Turkey, the concept of community power and its plentiful benefits are not well-known yet.


Solar energy Sunlight is our largest clean energy source for heat or electricity. Solar energy technologies include both solar thermal electricity and solar photovoltaics. The focus of the JRC’s work is to promote a fair and transparent EU market for photovoltaics and support innovative technological solutions, assess the development of industry and market, and the contribution of the sector to achieving the EU targets for renewable energy[viii]


Bioenergy and biofuels Bioenergy is seen as an important contributor to meeting the targets set by the Renewable Energy Directive (20% share of renewable energy over total EU consumption by 2020), and therefore complementary to other low carbon energy alternatives. The European Commission has also proposed that 10% of the transport sector’s final energy consumption in 2020 should come from renewable energy sources. Biofuels are expected to play an important role to achieve this target.[ix]

Wind Energy
[x] Wind energy technologies use the energy in wind for practical purposes such as generating electricity, charging batteries, pumping water, and grinding grain. Wind energy is a result of the sun’s uneven heating of the atmosphere, the earth’s irregular surfaces (mountains and valleys), and the planet’s revolution around the sun, which all combine to create wind.

Geothermal Energy
[xi]Many technologies have been developed to take advantage of geothermal energy—the heat from the earth. This heat can be drawn from several sources: hot water or steam reservoirs deep in the earth that are accessed by drilling; geothermal reservoirs located near the earth’s surface and the shallow ground near the Earth’s surface that maintains a relatively constant temperature of 10°–15°C.

In spite of the great solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy potential in Turkey, only 4% of energy produced in the country comes from these sources. 80% of Turkey’s energy production depends on fossil-fuels, 90% of which are imported. The remaining 16% is produced by hydro-power plants. Energy is produced and distributed centrally by large corporations and citizens do not have any influence on energy sources and prices.


Community power offers communities the opportunity to (1) shape local energy systems in a democratic way, (2) lower energy bills, (3) promote local development, (4) raise local acceptance for sustainable energy solutions and (5) fasten the transition to a fossil-free energy system.


As a Strategy for Target Meeting, the project spread all the necessary knowledge about the concept of community power and the process to start, build and run a community-owned energy installation. A web page is designed in Turkish, Danish and English in order to provide information on CP practices in EU and all over the world. Information/education materials are prepared in Turkish, English and Danish. All this information is gathered and presented in the webpage and also in various events: 4 workshops will be held in 4 cities in Turkey: Çanakkale, Burdur, Van and Diyarbakır. Study Visit to Denmark Seminar in Istanbul. A study visit is organized to Denmark to see the best practices on Community Power. Two-day workshops are organized in Van Çanakkale, Burdur and Diyarbakır on the principals of Community Power, its’ development in Europe, different types and successful practices in EU (particularly in Denmark), technical, legal aspects and challenges and barriers faced in EU. An evaluation meeting is held in Istanbul. Social media tools are used to disseminate the project.



The associations working in this field constitutes; Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, Climate Action Network, Institute of Sustainable Energy Policy Global 100% Renewables, Japan Community Power Association, World Wind Energy Association, International Renewable Energy Agency, Renewable Energy Policy Network for 21st Century, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Folkecenter, German Energy Transition, World Future Council, World Bioenergy Association, International Solar Energy Society, deEnet, Fraunhofer Institute, Sierra Clup






It is usually discussed that increased community participation in government decision making produces many important rewards. Disagreement in such debate is infrequent since positive consequences from citizens joining the policy process, building synergy, collaborating with others and reaching consensus to bring about positive social and environmental change can be observed. This essay, motivated by history and issues encountered in a participatory citizenship and community power in terms of renewable energy practice and implementation in Turkey. Community participation is an effective policy-making tool in Renewable Energy management initiative.


On the basis of participants point of views and In the light of agency activities and other individual practices, Turkey is at the bottom of the ladder on this issue. The public institutions and the private businesses should pioneer by implementing more projects and making more investments in Renewable Energy.  The benefits shall be observed in time if the universities offer and extend the education and research opportunities to private businesses and the electricity consumers who want to invest on renewable energy. If the universities and public institutions open training and consultancy offices along with the renewable energy facilities they are building, this will offer great contribution to making right investment decisions. Besides meetings, workshops, briefings that will create the necessary natural and legal bodies (cooperatives, communities etc.) for extending renewable energy to the end user of electricity and heat will be useful. Participants have the feeling that 100% renewable energy is actually a achievable and viable target. The importance of the coordination and collaboration of universities, NGOs, public institutions and local governments was noticed and underlined in the Programme. Besides the importance of the leading and pioneering role of the universities, public institutions and local governments was realized and highlighted. It is not sufficient that renewable energy, in other terms clean energy is implemented broadly in one city, one region or in one country. Everyone had to show the required care and delicate attention to renewable energy in the scope of his/her responsibility. If this is consummated the future of renewable energy touches to a enhanced form both for human beings and the Earth. Obviously the continuity is must for the sustainability of the Project in this connotation.





Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu

Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu 7. Uluslararası %100 Yenilenebilir Enerji Konferansı Sonuç Raporu

[i] EC Euroa.EU




[vii] Ministry for EU Affairs Civil Society Dialogue Between the EU and Turkey