At the TOBB Assembly Meeting held on June 30, Fatih Yücelik, Chairman of the Board of Directors of TÜRKÇİMENTO, the umbrella association of the cement sector, mentioned the problems of the sector in the process that took place in the light of the developments in Turkey and in the world. Explaining the developments in the last 3 months, Fatih Yücelik stated that after the Russia-Ukraine crisis, problems took place in the supply of coal, especially in the cement sector, and said:
“Russia is the number one supplier of coal in the cement sector. In 2021, our country imported approximately 1,5 billion-dollar coal from Russia. Our sector’s import was approximately 5 million tons of coal in 2021. There has been no problem recently in the Black Sea ports of Russia for a while. We learned that the problems on the Baltic side had been solved and the loadings had started. Although there have been individual disruptions, we can say that the crisis has been overcome in general. With that crisis, we industrialists went through challenging times due to natural gas cuts and power cuts. The energy cost increases affected by both crises posed further difficulties to us. In May 2022, increases were recorded in electricity by 181%, petcoke by 299%, imported coal by 609%, and domestic lignite by 208% compared to May of last year. Considering that 80% of our costs originate from energy, I would like to express that the said increases put pressure on us industrialists.”
More Investments must be made in Optimum Cost and High Efficiency
Mentioning that all the said developments made it necessary to make more investments in optimum cost and high efficiency to fulfill domestic consumption, Fatih Yücelik continued his speech as follows:
Both the roadmap and regulations regarding the European Green Deal and the commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement obligate our sector to increase the use of alternative fuels and make renewable energy investments. Moreover, with renewable energy investments, it will be possible to decrease the investment need in the electricity transmission lines, to increase the energy quality, and to minimize energy losses as consumption takes place at the production point. Nevertheless, the fact that we are faced with some obstacles related to the legislation causes hesitations about the investments planned to be made in our sector and uncertainties in the feasibility calculations. Despite all such conditions, as the cement sector, we have commissioned 24,5-MW installed power in renewable energy for self-consumption purposes. Our total power at the feasibility stage is 211 MW.
Fatih Yücelik who mentioned that they see the first step of strategic applications in low-carbon production as the creation of a sustainability transformation program by producers, said, “First of all, it is highly important to determine the vision and framework targets regarding carbon reduction on a company basis for the years 2030 and 2050. Increasing the amount of waste containing biomass with the initiative to increase the use of alternative fuels is another target of our sector. But we can say that new technologies mean higher costs for every ton of carbon to be reduced. It is clear that we need national and international technology transfer and financial support in this issue as in the EU.
Yücelik mentioned that the cement sector continues to contribute to the determination of Turkey's 2053 net zero emission target and green development policies, and said, “We are working to develop new technologies in cement production with the applications like increasing the use of waste-derived fuel containing biomass, the use of renewable energies, and developing incentive mechanisms in order to ensure sustainability and reduce emissions..”