Afşin-Elbistan power stations

From Global Energy Monitor

Afşin-Elbistan power stations consist of two existing coal-fired power plants in Kahramanmaraş province, Turkey — Afşin-Elbistan A and Afşin-Elbistan B — totaling 2,978 megawatts (MW).

An 1,800 MW expansion called Afşin-Elbistan C has also been proposed. Afşin-Elbistan power complex is supplied by the local Afşin-Elbistan lignite mines.

The four-unit Afşin-Elbistan A and four-unit Afşin-Elbistan B run on lignite coal from the adjacent Kışlaköy coal mine.[1]


The undated satellite photo below shows the power complex, which is near Çoğulhan municipality, Afşin district, Kahramanmaraş province.

Afşin-Elbistan A can be seen on the right and Afşin-Elbistan B on the left. While the two plants are entirely within Afşin district, the Afşin-Elbistan coal field (one of its mines can be seen to the east of Afşin-Elbistan A) bridges Afşin and Elbistan districts (hence the name).

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Afşin-Elbistan A was built and originally owned by Elektrik Üretim (EÜAŞ), the state-controlled power agency.[2] The plant was later privatised and in November 2018 its operation licence was transferred to Çelikler Holding.[3] Afşin-Elbistan B was built and is still owned by Elektrik Üretim (EÜAŞ),[4] but may also be privatised.[5] Afşin-Elbistan A was brought online in 1984-87, and Afşin-Elbistan B in 2005-2006.[6]

According to an estimate from the Greenpeace Mediterranean Climate and Energy campaign, the power stations have caused 17,000 premature deaths.[7]

Afşin-Elbistan A

In November 2012, EÜAŞ contracted Alstom Power to refurbish Afşin-Elbistan A.[8] In May 2015, it was privatised and bought by ERG Verbund[9] which planned to refurbish the plant.[10] In June 2018, ERG Verbund's name was changed to Afşin Elbistan Elektrik Üretim ve Ticaret company.[3] With the legal status of ERG Verbund's operating rights in question, the plant stopped operations for refurbishment in March 2017.[11] However Çelikler Holding bought all shares of[12] Afşin Elbistan Elektrik Üretim ve Ticaret company (previously ERG Verbund) and ownership was transferred to Çelikler Holding in November 2018.[3] In November 2019 the production licence was also transferred to Çelikler Holding for a period of 20 years.[13] The plant still operates despite the low capacity.[14] The plant's four units generate a total of 1,355 MW: Unit 1-3: 3 x 340 MW; Unit 4: 335 MW.[15] According to CAN Europe Units 3 had resumed operating as of December 2021.[16]

According to an October 2022 report, Afşin-Elbistan A was operating despite not having an environmental permit. In addition, the units did not have flue gas or nitrogen removal treatments installed. The power station received multiple environmental penalties in 2022.[17]

In December 2022, a fatal accident occurred at Afşin-Elbistan A. An investigation into the incident was underway.[18]

Expansion proposal

In January 2022, a 2 X 344 MW expansion of Afşin-Elbistan A was announced. The Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change stated that the EIA process had been initiated for the project. Construction was planned to be completed within 36 months.[19]

In April 2022, a public meeting on the proposed expansion's environmental impact assessment (EIA) took place. Residents of Kangal Village, Mostolhan Village, Altunelma Village and Alemdar Village attended the meeting and expressed that in addition to cancelling the expansion, the existing power station should be closed as soon as possible. Various environmental groups also attended and expressed the same sentiment. An analysis conducted by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) revealed that the expansion would cause an additional 1,900 premature deaths. Records from the Elbistan Health Group showed that cancer cases in the region increased eight times following the opening of the Afşin-Elbistan A power station.[7]

As of September 2022, the EIA process was ongoing.[20]

In May 2023, the power station expansion was not listed on the "Construction & Undertaking" page of the Çelikler Holding website.[21]

Afşin-Elbistan B

In 2017 the plants four units were retrofitted to increase their capacities to 391 MW for Unit 1, 391 MW for Unit 2, 391 MW for Unit 3, and 391 MW for Unit 4.[22] In January 2020 Afşin-Elbistan B received a "temporary activity certificate" that will allow it to continue operating for six months despite its failure to comply with filtration requirements under Environmental Law 2872.[23] In May 2020 Greenpeace applied to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization to shut down Afşin-Elbistan B and eight other plants not in compliance with Environmental Law 2872 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the correlation between fine particulate pollution and higher mortality rates from Covid-19.[24][25] The plant's four units generate 1,440 MW: 4 x 360 MW.[26]

In June 2021 the plant was forced to stop operating after running out of coal supplied from the nearby Çöllolar coalfield. Coal production at Çöllolar was interrupted by landslides in December 2020.[27] Unit 3 may have been converted to run on gas in June 2021.[27]

As of October 2021, coal supply to the plant had not been restored and the plant's coal-burning units remained idle.[28] According to CAN Europe Units 1-2 and Unit 4 had resumed operating as of December 2021.[29]

In November 2022, a tender was awarded to reopen the Çöllolar coal field. The plan was to mine 544 million tons of reserves, and the target was to supply Afşin-Elbistan B power station.[30]

Afşin-Elbistan B was among the infrastructure impacted by the February 2023 earthquakes, but damage assessments allowed the units to partially come back online within two weeks. A collapse occurred at the Afşin-Elbistan coal mine, which had the potential to impact supply.[31]

Afşin-Elbistan C and D

In September 2008 Turkey's electricity production corporation EUAS cancelled a tender for Afsin Elbistan C and D units, each proposed to be 1,200 megawatts (MW).[32]

In January 2013, the UAE's state power company Abu Dhabi National Energy (TAQA) signed an agreement with EÜAŞ to build US$12 billion worth of coal mines and coal-fired power plants in the Afşin-Elbistan region — a project with a combined power generation capacity of up to 7,000 new MW. As part of the deal, TAQA would acquire and expand Afşin-Elbistan B, and do a feasibility study for a planned 1,440 MW Plant C and associated mine. It was also reported that over time Taqa would "develop several new power plants and associated mines" in sectors D, E and G, presumably building a plant in each of these sectors.[33] For these additional projects, "necessary infrastructure services [would have] to be made by the public [sector]. Two towns [would have] to be relocated. River-beds should be changed; water dams are to be constructed, high voltage transmission lines are to be installed."[34]

In August 2013, TAQA postponed its $8 billion share of financing until 2014, citing uncertainty.[35] Industry officials cited difficult financing conditions amidst a currency sell-off as the main reason for the delay. Others have speculated that the then Prime Minister Erdogan's criticism of the UAE-supported ouster of the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi might have been a reason.[36]

Following President Erdogan's visit to Doha in December 2013, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz stated that Qatar was interested in investing in the project. China and South Korea have apparently also expressed interest.[36] As of February 2014, Saudi company ACWA Power and Thai company Singa Energy were also expressing interest in investment, for an expected total of $20 billion.[37]

In April 2014 Daily Sabah reported that Mitsui had undertaken a feasibility study into the construction of two additional units - C and D - at the plant.[38] In February 2015 it was reported that a consortium of Mitsubishi Corporation, Marubeni and Chubu Electric Power in Japan and Qatar Holding and Nebras Power from Qatar signed an agreement with the Turkish government to study projects in the Afşin-Elbistan region, including the development, operation and maintenance of lignite power plants. [39]

In August 2020, the Chief Executive of the Turkish Wealth Fund Zafer Sonmez announced that the fund was conducting a feasibility study for the C segment.[40] The same month, he announced plans to break ground in 2021, and stated that the fund was talking with six Chinese companies. The Chinese company that was awarded the contract would both construct the power station and finance the construction. [41][42]

As of December 2020, Afsin-Elbistan-D no longer appears on EMRA's website and has been cancelled.[43]

In April 2023, an analysis from the Health and Environment Alliance stated that building Afşin-Elbistan C would cause 3,289 premature deaths.[44]

Funding for Afşin-Elbistan C

Citigroup and Verus Partners are acting as financial advisers for the project.[45]

The Turkish Wealth Fund, which is owned and managed by the Government of Turkey, is the driving force behind the Afşin-Elbistan C power station project. The Chief Executive of the Turkish Wealth Fund, Zafer Sonmez, stated that, "The low-calorie nature of coal in Afşin-Elbistan and the volume of the reserve and project drives away the private sector. This is why the TWF steps in to fill the void."[46] In April 2021, it was reported that the Turkish Wealth Fund was still negotiating with 7 Chinese companies, seeking a firm to both construct and finance the Afşin-Elbistan C power station. The Fund stated that it expected to tender a contract by the end of 2021. The total cost of the power station was estimated at TL 17 billion, or about US$ 2 billion.[47] As of March 2023, there is no information on the outcome of the tender.

Permitting for Afşin-Elbistan C

The EIA process for an Afşin-Elbistan C plant with 1,800 MW capacity began in September 2018,[48] and received positive opinion in April 2019.[49] The EIA report was cancelled after the evaluation meeting in Ankara on 24th October 2019 where Afşin Municipality gave an adverse opinion due to heavy pollution caused by A and B plants,[50] environmental groups also opposed the plant on health and air pollution grounds.[51]

On 25th December 2019, an urgent expropriation for the plant was announced by presidential directive.[52] In March 2020 it was reported that the plant had received a positive EIA decision and that it would consist of 3 x 600 MW units.[53]

In November 2021 a report of the Maraş Regional Administrative Court found that the EIA positive decision given to Afşin-Elbistan C was faulty as it failed to accurately assess the project's impact on agricultural activities, environmental pollution, water basins and human health.[54]

In March 2022, the Kahramanmaraş Administrative Court ruled to halt the project on the grounds of potential pollution. The court determined that the EIA did not comply with the law and stated: "there is no public interest in the construction of such a thermal power plant".[55] The decision could be appealed to the Council of State (Danıştay).

In June 2022, the court returned a second decision after two separate lawsuits were filed in an attempt to halt Afşin-Elbistan C. The ruling stated that emissions calculations and other environmental impacts had not been addressed thoroughly. They found that the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization's initial approval of the EIA was unlawful.[56]

Afşin-Elbistan E and G

Afsin Elbistan E and Afsin Elbistan G are each estimated to have 1,400 MW capacity.[57] In October 2020 EÜAŞ began rerouting a canal in the vicinity of the proposed site of Afşin-Elbistan E as a preliminary step toward preparing the site for construction.[58]

As of December 2020 Afsin-Elbistan-E and Afsin-Elbistan-G no longer appear on EMRA's website and has been cancelled.[59]

Kışlaköy and Çöllolar Mines

Two coal mines were opened in the Afşin-Elbistan coalfield to power complex. First of these started operations in 1984, near the village of Kışlaköy, to feed the Afşin-Elbistan A power plant.[60] A second mine was opened in 2007 after the construction of Afşin-Elbistan B, named Çöllolar. However,the Çöllolar mine was destroyed in a landslide in 2011, and since then the Kışlaköy mine feeds both plants.[61]

As of 2019, EÜAŞ received a positive EIA to dump waste from the power complex into the Kışlaköy mine property.[61]

Environmental impact

In February 2019 the Right to Clean Air Platform-Turkey, a coalition of 17 professional organizations and NGOs, successfully campaigned to stop the Turkish Parliament from delaying proper air pollution filtration system and infrastructure requirements for old privatised coal plants until 2021, including ÇATES.[62] The delay would have allowed ÇATES to continue to operate without a modern dust, desulphurization and denitrification system.[63] [64] In November 2019 the Turkish Parliament approved the bill.[65] However on Dec. 2, 2019 President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vetoed the bill and said this veto was motivated by "environmental sensitivity".[66]

As a result, Afşin-Elbistan and other privatised coal power plants that have not completed the required infrastructure including filtration system must complete these requirements beginning Jan. 1, 2020 or these plants will face closure and/or fines.[67]

In January 2020 Afşin-Elbistan A was one of five plants closed by the government under Environmental Law 2872 for failing to install a more effective air filtration system. The other closed plants were Kütahya Seyitömer, Kütahya Tunçbilek, Sivas Kangal and Zonguldak Çatalağzı.[68] In June 2020 two of the plant's four units were declared in compliance with the new filter requirement and were cleared to resume operating with a one-year temporary license.[69] In November 2020 it was reported that 100% of a new dry flue gas filter system and 65% of a new west gas flue system had been installed, and that installation of the latter would be complete in Q1 2021.[70] In February 2021 CHP Deputy Chairman of Nature Rights and Environment and Kahramanmaraş Deputy Ali Öztunç announced that the plant had not installed new filters despite a grant of 1.45 billion lira to do so.[71] As of June 2021 Unit 3 at Afşin-Elbistan A had come into compliance with the new emissions law and had resumed operations.[72]

A July 2021 report by Climate Change Policy and Research Association found that neither Afşin-Elbistan A nor Afşin-Elbistan B were in compliance with flue gas emissions standards but were continuing to operate as a result of each obtaining a Temporary Activity Certificate (GFB).[73]

In May 2022, an alleged act of sabotage occurred at Afşin-Elbistan A. Thick black smoke was emitted from a chimney for several minutes, apparently in an attempt to disrupt environmental investments made by Çelikler Holding.[74] A Turkish environmental consultant stated in a Tweet that the smoke contained sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, highlighting that this type of pollution should be monitored at coal-fired power plants.[75]

Water intake

In March 2017 the power complex stopped drawing water from the Ceyhan River for 2 months whilst the state water board investigated complaints of low water levels, which may have exacerbated the pollution in the river.[76]

Project Details for Afşin-Elbistan power stations

  • Sponsor: Elektrik Üretim A.Ş. (EÜAŞ)
  • Parent company: A Units: Çelikler Holding, B and C Units: Elektrik Üretim A.Ş. (EÜAŞ)
  • Location: Çoğulhan municipality, Afşin district, Kahramanmaraş province, Turkey
  • Coordinates: 38.3472108 37.0260017 (exact)
  • Status (Pre-Permit Development): Unit A5, Unit A6, Unit C1, Unit C2 and Unit C3
  • Status (Operating): Unit A1, Unit A2, Unit A3, Unit B1, Unit B2 and Unit B4
  • Status (Mothballed): Unit A4
  • Status (Retired): Unit B3
  • Gross capacity: 3 x 340 MW (A Units) and 3 x 360 MW (B Units)
  • Type: Subcritical
  • In service: Unit A1: 1984; Unit A2: 1984; Unit A3: 1986; Unit A4: 1987; Unit B1: 2005; Unit B2: 2006; Unit B3: 2006-2021; Unit B4: 2006
  • Coal type: Lignite
  • Coal source: Çöllolar coalfield, Turkey
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


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Related articles

External resources

Wikipedia also has an article on Afşin-Elbistan_B_Termik_Santrali (Afşin-Elbistan_B_Termik_Santrali). This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License].