Energy Talks 2 - Alkım Bağ Güllü
With our Energy Talks series, we aim to bring together the experiences of experts operating in different fields of the energy sector.
In our second episode, our guest is Alkım Bağ Güllü, the director of the SHURA Energy Transition Center. We talked to Mrs. Güllü about his latest activities at SHURA, the methods she used in her daily work, and the skills needed to work in the field of energy and climate in the future.
Gökberk Bilgin: Dear guests, welcome to a new episode of Energy Talks. In this episode, our guest will be Alkım Bağ Güllü, the director of the SHURA Energy Transition Center. Welcome, Mrs. Güllü.
Alkım Bağ Güllü: Thank you very much, Mr. Bilgin.
GB: We talked to you before this event, but let me say it in terms of repetition. In this series of events, we carry out a series of events to get to know you and understand and learn from your experiences. Therefore, of course, we will talk about the work done. Still, on the one hand, we want to know about your life experiences and give ideas for people who wish to develop a career in this field, and thus, we want to contribute to living in a world with a better energy system. So, I want to thank you for taking your precious time to join us. Our first questions in this series of events mostly start from; how your experience in the energy sector begins? Was it accidental, or did you decide while you were in college? Can we get some of your views on this?
ABG: First of all, thank you very much for your invitation. It's a pleasure for me to be here. My interest in the energy sector started at my university, but I am a social science graduate, contrary to the general trends. I am a METU International Relations graduate. After the first two years there, we can focus on specific geographies and subjects according to our interests and make choices. I was interested in energy policies, the policies of energy countries, the relationship between them, and the relationship between energy and national security. Oil wars, natural gas resources in the Caspian region, relations between countries here, and so on, energy resources are some dynamics, mostly related to energy resources and domination of energy-related markets, behind the interventions that seem to have been made for different reasons, unless you know the deep dimension of the business. It caught my attention when I saw it. I've focused on lectures on this in the last two years. I would say it started there. I studied for my master's degree in England with TEV Scholarship and wrote my master's thesis on a similar subject. Later, as I entered the sector, I worked in the renewable energy sector. It was also possible to learn about the different dimensions of energy, the financing aspect, the technical dimension, and the market dimension. But I can say that my first interest started at university.
GB: Renewable energy has started to gain importance in the last two decades. It was necessary before that, but it's only been that it has come to the fore over the previous two decades. Were you thinking of concentrating on renewable energy while you were studying? Or has there been a transformation by realizing the importance of investments on this side as you enter the sector and gain experience? I want to get your views on this matter. In addition, we have many friends working at our Center in social sciences. You talked about the legislation, financial side, and different technical issues. How was the transition process? Did you have a hard time adapting?
ABG: Well, it wasn't planned. It was more like working in a center related to energy policies. But as you know, in Turkey, there is an economic crisis every five years, so the year I graduated coincided with such a period, and I did not work in the energy sector for the first five years. After graduation, I worked in different sectors. But it was always on my mind. Then, while I was looking at the energy sector, I switched to the renewable energy field by chance, and when I did, let's say the period when the renewable energy sector in Turkey gained momentum, that is, I was lucky because it coincided with a period when investments accelerated. I had the opportunity to learn a lot. Adaptation was difficult. Because, due to university education, mainly because I am interested in the politics of this business, of course, you do not start the sector so ready. Your interest and determination to work are somewhat decisive here, and you learn within the profession. I started working in a small company. But then it was a company that grew very quickly. I rose from the core. So, I can say that I have worked on everything in that field. Business development, project finance, asset management, and administrative management, then shifted to strategy development. Of course, we examined those different areas: the technical side of the business, the financial side, and the related legislation, energy policies, and renewable energy policies. We also had a team that analyzed what was right and wrong and gave suggestions. It has been highly educational for me.
GB: While advancing in a career, one of the issues in a dilemma is whether it is better to enter a company and rise there or to move forward by gaining different experiences in different companies and creating a pool of information. This is becoming a controversial issue. You have both shared knowledge and overseas experience. You took part in important energy companies in Turkey. Now you are the director of one of the vital think tanks that directs the transformation in energy. What do you think about this subject? Should we quickly switch to a different area when we reach the saturation point, or is it more evident in personal situations? If you were to choose it again, would you take the same path in your career or instead focus on one place?
ABG: I don't think there's only one correct answer to this. The institutions where people work and the experiences they encounter there are essential. The important thing for me is that I always preferred to stay where I could learn something. I usually worked for long periods. I'm not much of a mover. I worked for my last company for fourteen years. If you asked why you stayed so long, I was allowed to take the initiative, and I was allowed to focus on the areas of my interest, to learn. Therefore, I preferred to stay as long as I could improve myself and learn new things. I recommend this. Because when you reach satisfaction in a specific job, there is a particular comfort zone. You can move more freely. You both know people and have known people you work closely with for years.
GB: Thank you. So at this stage of your career, what are the dynamics of the SHURA Energy transformation center, and what are the plans for the Center? What would you like to add to the center when you finish this career stage?
ABG: The SHURA Energy Transition Center is a recently established organization. An organization was established at the end of 2017. When you look at an organization that was established to provide data-based analyzes for the decarbonization of the energy sector and made its name known in a short time, and was accepted by the sector stakeholders. Let me express it that way, maintaining this beautiful image is my primary goal. Apart from this, as you know, there were two important developments in Turkey last year. These are that Turkey ratified the Paris Agreement and then announced a carbon target for 2053. Therefore, energy transformation or decarbonization of the energy sector has now become one of the important issues in Turkey. Compared to the past, everyone is currently talking about these issues. It is the same globally, the European side was already like that. Turkey has just entered an environment where climate policies and energy policies are combined. Therefore, in the light of these dynamic developments, our primary goal is to determine our working subjects according to Turkey's priorities, to fill it with data as much as possible and to provide and convey the necessary information on this subject to the energy sector and its stakeholders.
GB: So when you look at it now, what do you think is the first step that should be taken in Turkey? Today, there is a rapid transformation on the digitalization side, technology has started to enter our lives in every field much faster than before. On the one hand, a very important war is going on right next to us. The Russia-Ukraine War has made significant changes in many fields from agriculture to energy, and we have started to feel its effects in our country. On the one hand, the European Union has accelerated its work due to this war. It wants to make the transformation as fast as possible, but at the same time, information about the need to increase oil and natural gas supply was mentioned at the last G7 Climate Summit. In fact, we are in a very complex situation that is completely messy. At this stage, where do you see the first step in a fast-developing country like Turkey, in a country with potential, in a country whose climate can meet almost all renewable energy sources? Where would you like us to start first?
ABG: If we are talking about the energy sector, in particular, I think that renewable energy should always be given priority. Maybe it should be formulated like this; in any case, the energy policy in Turkey is generally a policy that is focused on supply security. Recently, prices have become very important as you said. The ongoing global energy crisis in the world, as you said, has been moved to another dimension with the Russia-Ukraine War. However, on the one hand, the issue of security of supply came to the fore. On the other hand, the prices have started to feel very painful in Turkey, as the Turkish lira depreciated against the foreign currency and increased in line with the foreign currency. Let's say there is such a dual problem on the one side. On the other side, with the ratification of the Paris Agreement and the announcement of the Net-Zero target, it has now become one of the criteria of sustainability or decarbonization and energy policy. In other words, it is necessary to find a solution that will solve these three problems at the same time. Here, there is actually only one solution. In other words, there are some discussions going on that this energy crisis will actually hinder the energy transformation. As you said, there are such discussions in Europe as well. But actually, the solution is the same for all of them. So when you look at it, for example, if we talk about renewable energy, it is important both to ensure supply security and to reduce prices because they used to be very costly resources as you know.
However, by the recent cost reductions and increases, especially, in fossil fuels; fossil fuels have become much more economical. And also currently the incentives are given not to renewable energy sources, but to fossil fuels in our country as well. Therefore, they are also important resources to ensure energy prices or energy economic development. Today, we have approximately 10 GB of wind power plant and 8.5 GB of solar installed power. If there were two or three times of that, we can clearly say the prices would be much lower now. In this respect, on the one hand, these are the resources that already meet the sustainability criteria. In my opinion, priority should be given to renewable energy, as there is a very serious potential that can be developed in Turkey. Of course, there are other things to do which are diversification of energy sources, evaluation of different policies, etc. needs. But it's always number one for me, the topic that should be at the top of the agenda, is renewable energy. Furthermore, one of the most important issues is energy efficiency. There is actually a lot to do there. There was also a study on energy efficiency published by Shura last year. In this study, many different energy efficiency solutions were examined under five main headings, and it turned out that we can actually achieve a 10% better situation compared to the baseline scenario with the implementation of these solutions in Turkey. Therefore, I think that there is a lot of work to be done in both renewable energy and energy efficiency. However, generally speaking, we need to determine our targets very carefully regarding energy policies. It is important to be able to plan long-term here. Goals should not be changed too often. In other words, it is necessary to determine them in a realistic way for identifying the necessary action plans and policies to be achieved and changing these policies if necessary. Our goals also change very often that I find the biggest problem here. Currently, a good step has been taken with the announcement of this Zero-Carbon target. Therefore, we are going through a period in which the targets in energy policy are also being reviewed. In other words, on the one hand, the ministry will announce a long-term energy policy towards it; on the other hand, issues of climate laws, a carbon tax, etc work are underway by the Ministry of City and Urbanization Climate. In the energy policy, it is important to carefully determine the targets related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, electrification of end-user sectors, perhaps hydrogen, and new technologies in this context, for determining long-term and intermediate targets and creating an action plan accordingly. And it will be important to act quickly and decisively. These are the highlights. On the one side, the energy sector is also going through a structural transformation. In other words, there is a global trend toward renewable resources from a centralized, unilateral energy system where fossil fuels are dominant and towards a distributed and consumer-oriented digital energy system with productive consumers. We have already started to see that in Turkey. Digitization will be very significant. And all this transformation also means the creation of new business models and new markets. Here, countries that act fast in this transformation will have the advantage. In other words, I think, it will be important to be aware of the transformation in terms of benefiting from these new markets or new business models and accepting it. Furthermore, to take action quickly and revise our whole system in this way by considering Turkey's priorities but by getting out of the traditional thinking patterns and keeping up with this transformation will be important.
GB: Thank you so much. Of course, our first 2053 Net Zero target is actually not too far away. So we're only 31 years away from that. In fact, a person born on this day has to have made that transformation when he reaches the age of 31. Therefore, we need to have an appropriate education policy. We talk about fast entry into the market, digitalization, and technologies where prices are falling. Still, as far as I know, in Turkey, we do not have a technology that can compete with brands in Germany and China. Therefore, these are taken as imports, and the cost is quite high because our economic policy is going in an extremely irrational way. Both oil prices are high and obtaining them is high, financing the transformation is high, and due to the deficiencies in our education policy, we also lack the necessary human resources to continue this business and achieve this goal. Therefore, when we consider it in terms of education policy, what kind of talents do we need to train people to achieve this goal, and what kind of breakthroughs do you believe is right to make in terms of technology? If I ask your belief that we can achieve this goal, it might seem like a very provocative question.
ABG: I believe, I believe, that is, as an advocate of energy transformation.
GB: I wonder how we can overcome the obstacles. Can I get your opinion on this?
ABG: Yes, if we look at it from the education system perspective, I think two issues are essential. First, it is necessary to provide students with a multidisciplinary perspective, no matter what subject they specialize in. Because energy, climate and economic policies are now intertwined. In other words, it is no longer possible to separate them from each other. While determining the targets and policies, they must be determined from a holistic point of view. Therefore, I think it is important for people working in the sector to see the big picture. On the one hand, know the dynamics and functioning of the energy sector; on the other hand, know the financing or mechanisms behind it, or the costs, economic policies, and have a command of climate-energy-economic relations. Therefore, whether it is social sciences or more technical departments, I think it is important for people who will grow up in these fields to receive education in a system where different disciplines are integrated as much as possible. Secondly, I think it is very necessary for the education system to follow the trends in this energy transformation and shape itself accordingly because there is a very rapid transformation. In other words, no one could have predicted this development in renewable energy 15 years ago—technological advances, cost reductions, etc. Back then, when we were talking about renewable energy, we were considered an extremely marginal group. Now, the opposite is the case. Therefore, there should be an education system in which global trends are followed and the education system is shaped accordingly by foreseeing the new business lines to be formed. In the future, supply collectors, demand collectors, energy managers, or consultants will come to the fore. We are talking about a more distributed energy system for energy services companies. We are talking about more digital systems and smart systems. Therefore, there must be an education system that can foresee the new business lines to be opened and provide them with the skills to be employed here. I think these are two important issues.
GB: Well, technically speaking, for example, do we have a projection of this amount of sun, that amount of hydrogen, that amount of wind for Turkey's 2053 target? So, I would like to ask how do you think this policy should be. Speaking of European countries, some countries prefer to reach these goals in a different way, one of them is France, which wants to walk this path by developing nuclear technology in a technological sense. One is that Germany has completely phased out nuclear and wants to continue with its own renewable energy sources. What do you think about nuclear energy? On this side, if technological developments eliminate the dangers and risks that are present at the moment, can we consider nuclear energy in this context and how do you think it should be for Turkey? So what do we do to reach those goals? We would like to hear your opinion on that as well.
ABG: SHURA's Net Zero Work is currently ongoing. Therefore, I cannot say anything clear about how much renewable energy there will be in 2050. This will be data that we will announce in September-October. But I can say this: until now, before this carbon zero target was announced, our work was focused on 2030. And here there were two problems in front of renewable. One of them used to be costs, but this is no longer a problem. The second issue is its effects on the education system. You know, especially in the education system, resources with variable production such as wind and sun can cause some constraints because supply and demand must be constantly balanced. This is partly the traditional point of view in Turkey, so for example, let it stay in the sun and wind to a certain extent; let's not raise it that much because this needs to be supported by baseload power plants. I would like to talk a little bit about our latest report here. We conducted a study in which we examined and modeled the effect of increasing renewable energy integration on the Turkish transmission system. There was both a market simulation and a grid simulation here. Now, we have seen that, first of all, Turkey's transmission infrastructure is extremely strong and provides a good base. Actually, for more renewable energy integration. Here, if we continue the planned transmission system investments and add some solutions that will provide system flexibility in addition to this, battery storage, pumping, hydroelectric power plants, demand-side participation, and interconnection systems capacities can be increased and strengthened. And if we put in place different mechanisms, such as keeping flexible power plants in the system and choosing the locations of renewable energy power plants by taking into account network security a little more, we will provide 60%-70% of the generation from renewable energy for the year 2030. At the moment, let's say about an average rate of 40%. We can increase this to 70%. We can increase the share of sun and wind from 13% right now to 30%-35%, looking ahead seven years. That means around 30-31 gigawatts of wind as installed power. That's as much as 34 gigawatts of sun. In other words, it is technically possible to make more than three times the current capacities within the next seven years. As data, I can tell you this. If I talk about the European Union, if I come to your second question, the reaction of the European Union to the problems that arose with the Russia-Ukraine crisis was actually to accelerate the energy transformation.
ABG: A plan in the form of REPowerEU has been announced. There are four main pillars of this here. One pushed energy efficiency targets even higher. On transformation, very ambitious targets were set with the European Green Consensus, followed by the "Fit for 55" and other policies. It has accelerated and raised these targets to reduce dependence on Russian gas. The first is energy efficiency. Secondly, it raised the targets in renewable energy in the same way. It is working on a package that will speed up the integration of renewable energy, with details such as requiring solar roof applications for newly built buildings. On the one hand, it is on the agenda to establish a European Union Energy Platform where all member countries can buy energy or hydrogen or LPG together to diversify their energy sources.
On the other hand, issues such as the construction and financing of the necessary infrastructure, pipelines, and hydrogen are on the agenda. We are giving an answer that would accelerate the energy transformation. On the other hand, as you said, nuclear energy has entered the taxonomy of the European Union. Nuclear energy by the group of countries led by France, France has a serious nuclear energy power, so while they prefer to classify it as green investments, some countries are entirely against it, as you said. There is a contradictory situation; there is no consensus on this issue. What needs to be done for Turkey? As the Council, we are not categorically against any energy source. I keep coal separate because we think coal exit planning should be done with a net-zero target. However, we do not have a position for or against nuclear. There is already a nuclear power plant in Turkey; Its first unit is scheduled to be patrolled in 2023. So, modeling it is crucial here. While reaching the net-zero target, it is necessary to develop a plan in line with Turkey's strategy and priorities due to the modeling to be carried out based on costs and realistically including new technologies. However, I will repeat the same thing. In a country like Turkey, our priority is to integrate renewable energy sources into the system at the maximum rate. I think it is not right to talk about constructing a nuclear power plant without prioritizing it because we are advantageous in terms of potential. We have a serious solar and wind potential in the Mediterranean Belt compared to European countries. Turkey needs to turn this into an advantage, and it needs to take advantage of it. Therefore, after focusing primarily on how we can use this renewable energy potential, other sources will also need to be considered, considering the system costs.
GB: Thank you. Of course, you said that we can reach our targets in 2030. On the one hand, it requires significant investments in terms of technology. We also need to develop our human capital. We can do one, but whether we can do all three, whether financial constraints come into play, the first such question mark arose. How do you evaluate the countries that can transform this field when you look at the world? Is there a country you can give us an example of? If country X did it, we could do it too. Is there an example that you can think of on the scale of Turkey where you can say that they followed such a path? Some European countries are very successful, like Denmark. However, its size and population are too small, and comparing it with Turkey may not be very fair. When you think of countries closer to us, such as Italy and Spain, if you think of countries with similar climates and are not far from us in terms of economy, is there anything you can give an example of?
ABG: I can give Germany as an example in terms of size and population. We are not very similar economically; their welfare level is much higher. However, look at it in terms of potential. We can say that even though there is a little more renewable energy potential than Turkey, they are using the capacity very seriously. Italy and Spain have made very serious advances, especially in solar. So, you have to think about this too. In the past, this was a little more difficult. When it was necessary to support the renewable energy sector with purchase guarantees, as it was in Turkey, we owe our current wind and solar installed power to the dollar based YEKDEM implemented in the last ten years. Of course, this brought some costs, but the cost of not doing this should also be considered. What would energy prices be without this installed capacity? How much more natural gas would we import? What would our current account deficit be? I think it should be evaluated this way.
Now, we are entering a slightly different period. In terms of renewable energy, there is now a second YEKDEM in Turkey, based on the Turkish lira, as costs have dropped. Much lower than market prices. It is not applicable because new wind and sun are given through tenders. (YEKA auctions) The meager prices here are another problem. We see that capacities are given far below the market prices. Therefore, developing renewable energy is not as costly as it used to be.
On the contrary, it becomes more costly with some fossil resources. If we talk about nuclear energy, we need to consider costs again. Likewise, in light of recent developments, natural gas or coal resources that we import have become extremely costly. Therefore, there is no short-term result or solution to this real energy crisis or climate crisis. It is necessary to take steps that need to be taken in the medium and long term. The most cost-effective solution is always energy efficiency, i.e., reducing demand. With the reducing costs of renewable energy, it has become easier to integrate them. If you ask whether it is possible to invest in renewable energy in Turkey at the moment, the costs have decreased, but the investment cannot be made. There are different reasons for this too. It is possible to achieve a transformation through a method that will provide access to their financing.
GB: On the investment side, what do you think about the attitude of European countries towards Turkey right now? Various studies have been carried out on investing in Turkey. We tried to help you with one on the hydrogen side. If we can fix things, do you think Turkey has potential in terms of investment? What is blocking it now? If you look at it in terms of cost, Turkey has become much cheaper for Europeans. How do you evaluate it in that respect? Let us have a short comment. We are curious about the daily work done here. We will have questions about him.
ABG: Okay. Large international companies existed in the renewable energy market in Turkey until recently. Especially in the 2008-2015 period, there was much entry. European and other countries’ firms have entered the renewable energy sector. There was an attractive investment environment, costs can be from this potential with high capacity, of course, from RES as well. Both potential and turnaround times are advantageous for future environment preparation and input. Many of these firms have abandoned the market. Of course, here, in the investment environment, predictability is important. We can't think of a short-term future in Turkey in terms of prices. Stability in the market, fewer interventions, and fewer regulations in the legislation are important for stability. Recently many firms have exited because the environment has been corrupted. In other words, YEKA auctions are the methods used in determining energy capacity, which is the wind and the sun. A lot of capacity was given to auctions and if we look at the prices, they were sold for lesser prices. Judging by the facts, there is a very little possibility. In other words, not only YEKA is present, but there were also pre-license auctions before. They can be planned or spread over the very long term. The process from the operation of a wind farm to the operation has taken 7 to 8 years, and now it is even longer, and Turkey doesn’t have that much time. If it is going to go forward with auctions, they need to be revised a bit because for something like that, there is a lot of demand, and the price criterion is the only one. The aim is not to license the project but to acquire the capacity in Turkey from the investor. Investors are waiting, this is Turkey, and because there is a point of view that maybe the financing conditions will improve, maybe a regulation will be made and these will be made more economical. Those capacities are waiting to be blocked until they are canceled or returned idly. I see that this is the biggest problem. Therefore, the price of the auction system should be reduced in a way that will provide the most economical energy to the end-user, but at the same time, this price should be at a level that will ensure the project's access to finance. In other words, to achieve that balance, different applications, different and technical criteria, financial criteria can come into play, and different methods can be discussed. There is an escalation formula, you know, in Turkish Lira, and that escalation formula is open to a certain amount of exchange rate risk. The economic crisis we are going through seems difficult to finance this project under these conditions. I can say that there is a forecasting problem that affects investments, on the whole, maybe YEKA specific, but also in a general sense as well. This stability and confidence in the market need to be established again, and on top of that, it is necessary to regulate the capacity granting mechanisms specifically for renewable energy. Maybe it is possible to come up with different options other than YEKA. Renewable power plants called "Renewable PPA", which we see abroad and in Europe, are mostly financed by long-term bilateral agreements. Although it is not easy to make long-term bilateral agreements in markets like Turkey where everything is very volatile, at least it should not be an obstacle in terms of legislation. For example, a company like Google may come and say to an investor here, "Build a 50–100-megawatt power plant and I will buy this electricity from you for so many years and such a price". These PPA agreements are also important alternatives for financing. I think it is necessary to think a little more about the mechanisms that will allow such alternative financing options and that price and financing balance can be achieved. I think it is necessary to accelerate the integration of renewable energy.
GB: Thanks again for your reply, it was a very productive event, we touched on many issues. In fact, with this answer, you touched on many disciplines. Well, what criteria should a person who is about to graduate from university have to get a job in this sector? As a pioneering think tank in such a dynamic industry, what do you look for in people who will join you? We have many friends who are curious about your views on this matter. How should we improve ourselves?
ABG: The council has a very small team, and while preparing our studies and reports with that small team, the same team is responsible for the communication of the council, that is, the delivery of these studies, data or policy proposals, messages to all stakeholders of the energy sector, namely public sectors, universities, NGOs, etc. Therefore, the features we look for in candidates who will start working here are analytical thinking, and strong writing skills, because we prepare reports in both Turkish and English. Writing skills and love are required because it is not something to be done without love, we prepare reports of 100-200 pages. They must have a character that pays attention to details. Project management and contractor management are important because we do them through our consultants, it is important to direct and manage them. As I mentioned, promoting the work of the council on different platforms is one of our duties. This may be the events organized by the council itself, or we often all attend different conferences, seminars, and webinars. Articles, interviews, columns, etc... Strong communication skills are also required, including presentation skills. Most importantly, what we do is a team effort, not an individual job. In every work we do, the opinions of all our employees are taken. Regardless of their area of expertise, everyone's opinion is taken in each study, and that report is finalized. Therefore, it is important to have a structure suitable for teamwork, these are general skills. As for technical skills, our employees generally have different areas of expertise such as development, energy economics, energy trading, and renewable energy. Although mostly coming from the private sector, profiles in which the private and academic sectors are intertwined come to the fore. Regardless of his expertise here, he needs to know the general dynamics and functioning of the energy sector, namely the functioning of energy policies in Turkey. Sometimes, when we say energy transformation, what do we understand, and what are its main elements, candidates are expected to have information about these issues. Of course, this only applies to experienced employees. Of course, we don't expect a recent college graduate to have all these qualifications. We try to train as many "junior" staff as possible within the institution, within Shura, but above all, most importantly, what we expect is someone who truly believes in the mission of Shura and wants to do something about it. A few more general skills come here because you gain and learn skills related to the energy sector and presentation skills over time. But I can say that these more general skills such as analytical thinking, being compatible with teamwork in general, being able to think critically and asking questions come to the fore for new graduates.
GB: Thanks a lot. We can see it more quickly in our work with volunteer colleagues or experts in the sector or with our instructors at Bilkent Energy Policy Research Center. Maybe it is because we are inside the university, but a fundamental priority exists in every department. While engineers may prioritize feasibility, economists may prioritize opportunity cost. The lawyer can see the restrictions in the legislation. Those in science can analyze the technological side well. People with such different priorities also have other preferences. There may be attitudes such as it is better to do this first. How do you achieve this balance in the work you do in your center? You mentioned the importance of joint decision making here; how are priorities determined there? What kind of work environment do you have? We wonder about it.
ABG: Our work is multidisciplinary because even if we do a technical study, we support it with policy recommendations. It can be a socio-economic study analysis, a cost analysis in technical research, etc. Therefore, we have technical, political and economic dimensions in every work. We distribute projects according to people's fields of expertise, but let me first talk about how we determine the subjects of work; this is what is being done abroad, what are the trends in energy conversion, of course, we follow them. We determine our working subjects based on Turkey's developments, policies, and priorities. For example, the Paris Agreement was ratified last year, and the Net Zero target was announced. We are working on Net Zero this year. There are not many people who say not to work anyway; the agenda is somewhat self-determined. When you say Net Zero, there is a technical side to it; on the one hand, there is the modelling side. On the one side, this needs to be supported by policy recommendations. On the other side, it is necessary to analyse this transformation's socio-economic analysis. Therefore, we need a whole team of experts in different disciplines. These elements must be included in every work. Like I said before, the job report does not end with issuing, as we are all responsible for its communication. The important thing here is that everyone is aware of their ultimate goal, and we take everyone's opinion when determining our business plan and strategy. It is essential to have an environment where everyone can freely express their opinions. We discuss and try to find the best. In a report, we talk about what needs to be done together. In addition to the one-on-one meetings with our employees, we also have sessions where the whole team, including the administrative staff, comes out and tells the story of the person in charge of all the projects. Indeed, according to their field of expertise, everyone contributes very well to that work with their connections. I think this is not a challenge; this is definitely a critical advantage for moving the works to a much better place.
GB: Thank you so much. I have one last question; if our participants have questions, they can ask them in the chat section. We're in the last 5 minutes. How do you spend a day during all this work? Are there any resources you follow regularly? Are there any books or articles on the subject you have read recently? We would love to hear.
ABG: My day is always full of meetings. I can't say that I read as much as I wanted to. There is such an old official newspaper thing that I regularly follow, although it is a bit heavy with the weight of operational work. At least I get the reports about it because I follow the changes in the energy sector that concern us in terms of legislation and what has happened. I follow the energy news bulletins daily. Again, weekly and monthly publications that summarize the Turkish energy market are essential. Of course, I can't follow other institutions daily, what issues they are working on in other countries working on energy transformation, or what they prioritize, but I try to look at them regularly. I follow the social media pages of specific institutions and individuals. Social media is also essential for us now to get information. I can say that these are the publications I follow regularly. Recently, there have been mostly Russian-Ukrainian wars and reflections in the European Union, its reflections in the world, and current and current issues. Apart from that, the focus topics are related to our projects. We have recently worked on the technical part of renewable energy integration and read resources about it. There was green hydrogen at work before. Now, our project on green transformation and financing continues, so the topics we focus on are constantly changing according to the projects on the agenda.
GB: Thank you. One question was asked, but I think you partially answered that question. What do you think about establishing a nuclear power plant in Turkey? Is there anything additional you want to say?
ABG: Thank you. I think I've said everything I have to say. It's just that the energy transformation is now heading towards such an inevitable place. This may still be seen as a more marginal issue, but this transformation we have entered will continue in. I think it will continue this way. Turkey will definitely take place in this. He has already started to move in this direction with the steps he has already taken. As I said before, it is essential to be determined and fast. If we look at our success as a whole in the context of both the public and private sectors, our determination, planning ability, and decisive action in this matter will be decisive for achieving the climate targets. For example, I get bored with this question. Do you think that the climate targets can be achieved? This means that there are a lot of people who believe this is not possible. Of course, it is not easy. On the one hand, there are sustainability criteria; on the other hand, there are supply security, price criteria, etc. It is necessary to find the points where the solution actually converges a bit and move forward with determination. It is necessary positively because if we believe that this cannot be done from the beginning, we lose that from the beginning. We need to focus on how to do this. To undermine this with data, I think it is necessary to focus on the trends in the world and the new technologies, both technically and economically, by following them very closely.
GB: Thank you very much for your precious time. It was a very enjoyable and instructive webinar for us. We would always like to welcome you to Bilkent University Energy Policy Research Center. If our paths collide again, we would like to continue working together. Thank you very much for your precious time.
ABG: Thank you very much. I also thank you for your kind invitation.
GB: We would also like to thank our esteemed participants for taking the time to come. The recording of our conversation will be published on our Youtube channel as soon as possible. Your suggestions and opinions are precious for us to do our job better. You can always reach us from our social media accounts and e-mail address. Hope to see you in a new program. I wish you a good evening.
ABG: Good evening.