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EBRD helps Turkish city of Gaziantep go solar

By Olga Rosca

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  • Gaziantep in south-eastern Turkey goes solar with loan-and-grant package from EBRD
  • Five solar plants with 27 MW installed capacity to power municipal buildings and services
  • Municipality to develop investment programme as part of EBRD Green Cities programme

The south-eastern Turkish city of Gaziantep is set to power most of its municipal buildings and infrastructure with renewable energy as part of its climate action.

A vibrant, historical trade and cultural centre, the city has a population of more than 2 million people and is home to half a million Syrian refugees – the second-largest Syrian community in Turkey after Istanbul. The municipality is committed to a sustainable urban transformation that will benefit all residents. Last month it joined the EBRD’s flagship urban sustainability programme, Green Cities.

As part of the cooperation, the EBRD is providing a 10-year €10 million loan to finance the five grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) plants with a total installed capacity of 27 MW. The loan will be accompanied by a €7 million grant from the Bank’s Shareholder Special Fund in a move to support the municipality whose population has seen rapid growth, in part due to an inflow of refugees from Syria. 

The solar PV plants will create significant savings in electricity bills, relieving pressure on the city’s budget. The project will also help avoid carbon emissions and intense use of water for electricity generation, particularly important in Turkey’s water-scarce south east.

The municipality is also planning to involve young women in the project by providing internships and encouraging them to pursue careers in sustainable energy. 

Fatma Sahin, Mayor of Gaziantep, said: “We are doing our best efforts to increase the generation of renewable energy. We are also making great endeavours to ensure that air and the water in the city are clean. The EBRD’s support and its Green Cities programme comes at the right time as we intensify our efforts to improve sustainability. The 27 MW solar power plant will have a significant impact on the environment and climate of Gaziantep and the region.”

Nandita Parshad, EBRD Managing Director for Sustainable Infrastructure, added: “The EBRD is clearly acting on its commitment to support Turkey’s green transition. Investing in a solar project for the municipality’s own energy consumption is our first step in Gaziantep under our Green Cities programme. We will also be helping the city to integrate solar power into electricity grids more broadly.”

As part of its cooperation with the EBRD, Gaziantep will also devise a Green City Action Plan, the backbone of the Green Cities programme. It is a step-by-step investment plan covering green infrastructure, including solid waste, water, wastewater, street lighting, energy supply and transport. The development of the plan will be funded by the Clean Technology Fund, part of the Climate Investment Funds.

Gaziantep is the fourth Turkish city to join Green Cities alongside Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul. The EBRD and Gaziantep are long-standing partners; the Bank has previously financed the municipality’s acquisition of 100 modern, energy efficient buses.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Turkey and has invested €14 billion in the country to date, mostly in the private sector. Sustainability is at the heart of the Bank’s investment and policy engagement.

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