Energy Talks 3 - Nigar Gökmen

With our Energy Talks series, we aim to bring together the experiences of experts operating in different fields of the energy sector.

 

In the third episode, we talked to Nigar Gökmen, Head of Energy, Mining, and Infrastructure at Esin Attorney Partnership, about their recent activities in the field of energy, climate, and sustainability, the methods they apply in their daily work, and the skills that lawyers should acquire to work in the future.

Transcript

Gökberk Bilgin: Dear guests, welcome to the new episode of the Energy Talks series! In our third week, our guest is Ms. Nigar Gökmen, the Head of Energy, Mining and Infrastructure Unit at Esin Attorney Partnership. Ms. Nigar is actually a graduate of Bilkent University, Faculty of Law and she is our guest at this event for the second time, not refusing the invitation of the Bilkent Energy Policy Research Center. I would like to welcome her. Ms. Nigar, welcome both to our event and to our home, even if it is virtual.

Nigar Gökmen: I am glad to be here! Thank you very much for your invitation, I am very happy too. I always delightedly participate in all the activities of our college. I am especially happy about this because it will also be with our fellow students.

GB: We thank you. Since this series of events is based on listening to your experiences rather than discussing the energy agenda directly, I would like to start with our first classical question. How did you start your interest in the energy sector, I think, it would be more accurate to say in the law and energy sector? What processes did you go through in your career to reach this point? Could you inform us briefly?

NG: Of course, with my pleasure. I was a little worried that I couldn't look at your questions because of my busyness, but if we start like this I can relax a little bit. It is something we talk about a lot with both my fellow trainees and those who applied for internships, especially with my future colleagues who are still studying. My introduction to energy law was a bit of a coincidence, as a matter of fact, it was not a very conscious choice. As you mentioned, I am a Bilkent graduate. I started at a law firm in Ankara at that time. By then, White & Case LLP had a branch in Ankara, now it continues as Çakmak Attorney Partnership. I started there by doing a summer internship while I was at Bilkent, when I graduated from Bilkent I continued my professional life there. And I can say that Ankara is actually a concentrated place in terms of energy law. I will mention it more broadly but if I talk about energy law a little since energy law is very related to administration and administrative regulations, Ankara inevitably becomes a centre for this. Therefore, I would say that I was involved in these works because of where I started working. However, I can say that I liked it very much later because it gave me very different abilities, very different muscles. Something that started by chance actually evolved for the better. Then I moved to Istanbul. Now, I am the Head of the Energy, Mining and Infrastructure Department at Esin Attorney Partnership which is also the Istanbul Branch of Baker McKenzie. There is actually a much more conscious environment regarding energy law now than in the past. In other words, by looking at the current system, what is currently taught or the developments we follow, I can say that students and people who want to choose this branch of law are doing much more conscious research. And the resources they can do these researches have increased in number.

 

I started the profession 12 years ago. When I started my profession, these issues were not so advanced and discussed. The outlook for the energy market itself was also very different. Now 12 years ago, it still exists a bit today to a large extent, although we tried to change it, but then there was a more traditional understanding of energy based on fossil fuels. However, in the years when I started my career, the orientation towards this renewable energy was gradually increasing, incentives were started to be given, and the positive effects and positive contributions of the incentives applied began to be seen. Therefore, I can say that I started in such a transition period to deal with energy law and the energy market. Now the energy market has changed quite a bit. Subsidies to fossil fuels have been greatly reduced. Although the existing incentives continue to be preserved, we no longer see new incentives, and the orientation towards renewable energy has started. I can say that the energy market has almost completely changed with the concerns such as reducing the carbon footprint and sustainability. Therefore, if I make a comparison, perhaps the lawyers would not have said that we should work in this market, especially in the energy market when I started my career. But right now the energy market has taken on a very different gaze. It gained a different trajectory based on the issues we care about for our world and our environment and entered a different path. Therefore, energy law in the energy market has become even more important today than in the past and I think it has become more preferable, more talked about and pondered over, especially with the contribution of sustainability concerns.

 

Actually, there were two questions in this question. One is probably why I chose law school. In fact, since my childhood, I had been interested in these kinds of issues that include great mechanisms such as state administration which could be observed in old ages when we go to the foundation of Rome. How the state changed, the different methods have been used in different regions for its administration and the creation of law had always attracted my attention in the readings I made and the subjects I worked on. Ultimately, I decided to go to law school in high school. It's totally an area of ​​interest. It is not a good coincidence like energy law, it has become an area of ​​interest, and then energy law was also a good coincidence.

GB: It's very nice, Ms. Nigar. Let me ask how this topic developed. You have talked about the energy sector and you actually started your career at the beginning of a period of very important transformations. And this continued at an accelerated pace. Therefore, you must have faced too many new concepts, too many new technologies, companies operating in many different fields working together, and many more new challenges in this process. Let me ask how you trained yourself in this adaptation process. Because adapting to technology and defending the rights of your clients and being able to do this at the highest level is a very difficult thing nowadays. Because new technologies can develop almost every second, and all paradigms can change with a development that occurs every second. What kind of work did you do to stay up to date during this process?

NG: As you said, when the energy market goes through a major transformation, the regulations on the energy market have changed many times in order to adapt in the same way. To follow these changes, we just assign friends from our team. They follow both the announcements of the Energy Market Regulatory Authority, the ministry, the legislation and the Official Gazette on a daily basis because this has become a daily changing issue in our lives. For example, I can give an example, our friends from law school already know it, now there are many fields of activity such as M&A, mergers and acquisitions, or business law. In these fields of activity, we do not see a change in legislation every day. In other words, if we consider a law of debts in M&A deals, it does not change every day in our lives, and the law of debts is especially taken into account. It changes only at certain intervals. However, since the energy market and energy law contain sector-specific regulations and the sector changes every day, there are many changes on a daily basis, including board decisions, not only laws but also regulations, communiqués, and board decisions. And keeping ourselves up to date depends on this is actually a dynamic industry. That's why we inevitably keep ourselves updated because we have to follow it every day. This also creates a huge workload for us at the same time.

If we ask how we protect the rights of our clients in this environment, what we call energy law actually constitutes administrative law as the basis. Even, I would like to start over a little bit more. Now, we can say that the concept we call energy is a reflection of public service because as soon as we remove energy from our lives, everything goes out of our lives. All the technological developments, even our access to food, our access to clean water… In other words, when we remove energy from our lives, we remove our entire life from it. And therefore, I can say that energy is the centre point of our life. It is not possible that such an issue is not subject to intense regulation in the market now. Therefore, every field of energy law's activities in the energy market has been regulated by the state and continues to do so. Nowadays there is a concern in the energy market. On the one hand, let's assume regulate energy law as the activities to be carried out are subject to regulation in all branches of energy law. But on the other hand, as soon as you regulate everything, you hinder the development of the market, and you hinder the competition in the market. This is a situation that hinders the development of the market. In other words, for a market to develop, including technological innovations, that market must also be liberalized. In order for the prices in the market to improve, the market needs to be liberalized. For this reason, the field we call energy law is an area that is heavily regulated by the administration, and on the one hand, efforts are made to liberalize the activities in the market within the framework of regulations. Now, how do we protect the rights of our clients in this framework and what do we encounter? Since the energy law is subject to regulation and the supply of energy is a public service to the constructions, the activities to be carried out in these matters are subject to licenses, adjustments and regulations. When these change, it is thought that there will be changes in the rights of the players in the energy market. But in Turkish Administrative Law, we have said that this administrative law is the basis now, and the principle of protecting the acquired rights is applied. Therefore, if a right is given to an energy company to a player operating in the energy market, that right is protected as a vested right, and even if the law changes, even if the regulation changes, that right continues to be applied as it was when it was given so that that player would not be harmed in the market. Let's give an example, let's say that there is no incentive for fossil fuels at the moment, but if an incentive was given 10 years ago and this incentive should continue and if it was given for 15 years, that incentive is still valid and will continue. In some cases that could cause great harm to the public, specifically, if there is a project that was allowed to be carried out, but it was causing such damage to the environment that the public would suffer a great loss from it, and perhaps future generations would also suffer; the administration may make some interventions by making an indemnity payment or by foreseeing another application if necessary. You know, the vested right is always one hundred per cent certain, no matter what, we cannot say that it cannot be changed because everything is open to discussion in places where the public has suffered a great loss. But unless there are such extraordinary and extreme situations, the principles of administrative law are generally applied both in energy law and in the energy market. Therefore, even if changes are made, we can protect the acquired rights within this framework. But of course, there are a lot of concerns and we discuss this a lot, especially, with our foreign clients: The person who will make an investment has not earned his right yet, in other words, he is planning the investment. He has concerns such as “How does this legislation change?”, “How soon will it be renewed?”, “Will there be a contrary regulation until I do this?”, “Will it change retrospectively in the future?”. However, these concerns do not only exist in terms of Turkish law but also in the whole world because as I said, the market changes shape very quickly right now and it will continue to do so. Of course, the laws have to keep up with them. To give an example, a lot of legislative changes have been made to support renewable energy projects and we expect more to be made.

NG: We do not expect such developments for fossil fuels for now, as efforts are made to reduce the carbon footprint in the opposite direction. In other words, let me give a short answer that we protect our clients' rights within the framework of the basic principles of administrative law. However, we evaluate them in practice in daily affairs. In this context, I would say that it is essential to know administrative law for energy law.

GB: Thank you very much. So, when we talk about Turkey, how do you evaluate this legal environment in Turkey? You mentioned frequent updates. Where exactly is Turkey when you compare it with the world, and are there any areas that you believe will be developed? For example, in terms of expanding the renewable energy sources and reducing the carbon footprint you mentioned, have steps been taken to approach the net-zero target that we set in 2053? Does the current regulatory system align with your goals?

NG: Turkey has taken an excellent step toward renewable energy. Ten years ago, even eleven years ago, a mechanism called YEKDEM was put into the system. Renewable Energy Support Mechanism. We may have student friends who do not follow this mechanism well in how electricity is sold in the energy market. If I have to give a concise summary for them: the sale of energy can also be made between the producer and the person who will consume the energy through bilateral agreements, or it can be done by purchasing electricity from a distribution company, such as our subscriptions.

At the same time, producers can sell this electricity to the YEKDEM system if they produce electricity from renewable energy sources. What does it mean to sell through the YEKDEM system? This means electricity of sale to the state at specific prices guaranteed by the state. In other words, the state says that as long as you generate electricity from renewable energy, I guarantee this electricity at the following price, and I will buy it; he states it as so many years, and that period is ten years. Turkey has made a great leap forward by introducing this system. This system increased the number and number of renewable energy projects in Turkey and gave excellent results. In that respect, I find the development in Turkey very positive. However, the need to support this has emerged with different mechanisms in the current conjuncture. First, this support mechanism used to be fully dollar-based; it was a dollar-based support mechanism; guaranteed prices were dollar prices. Nearly half of those prices have been converted to TL, and the remaining half will be subject to an indexation law in dollars and euros. Therefore, a change in the YEKDEM mechanism in Turkey has made the investor wonder a little. Since this change, a bit of stagnation has been observed in renewable energy investments. That's why Turkey got the results of its breakthroughs in the past.

We expect him to make a breakthrough and make legislative changes that will pave the way for bilateral energy sales agreements. The general expectation and the general expectation of the players in the energy market are in this direction. As I said, when the YEKDEM mechanism is converted to the Turkish lira, especially in the energy market, I should also note that even if there are no foreign investors, the use of imported equipment produced abroad is high. Or being indexed to the Turkish lira is of great importance for realizing projects. Therefore, if the YEKDEM system is not as attractive as before, supporting it with another method will be necessary. He is all over the world at the moment. Turkey seems to be going in parallel with the developments in the world in this regard.

A structure that we call the Corporate Power Purchase Agreement is currently being held all over the world. This structure is expected to pave the way for the sale of electricity directly to consumers from renewable electricity generation facilities, generation facilities based on renewable energy, and long-term sales. Already, can't we sell electricity? We will deal with it with bilateral contracts, but why does it not happen? Why is it expected to regulate? But we cannot simplify the construction of power plants that much. Both because their connections to the system and transmission networks have unique regulations and because such long-term agreements in the electricity market have places to rely on competition law. In other words, when you make a ten-year agreement to buy electricity from a person, that five-year limit in competition law is also stuck.

Therefore, special incentives for this Corporate Power Purchase Agreement, special incentives for their construction, and while power plants are being built, we encounter many questions and problems regarding permissions. I think renewable energy facilities should continue to be supported with regulations such as facilitating the processes for plant installation permits, shortening these processes for renewable power plants, and perhaps additional tax incentives. In other words, the old market view, dominated by YEKDEM, is now changing its shell again. We are in that period right now. We will continue to see many changes in this period as well.

Last year, for example, there was a problem with renewable energy projects. Renewable energy is not a controllable energy source like fossil fuels. For instance, in fossil fuels, you turn off the power plant and open the power plant the next day. This is a very manageable process for you; in other words, you can stop electricity production and continue to generate electricity. But it is not possible to do this in renewable sources because the sun exists if there is, or it does not exist if there is no wind; you cannot produce electricity, or you can produce more. This causes specific imbalances in the system. This is a technical example. However, it concerns the law: How can we prevent this imbalance that the inequalities in this system will create by using renewable energy sources? Because this imbalance may even expose the facilities to the danger of crashing the network. How can we legally prevent this? The following method was envisioned last year and was regulated: hybrid plants were allowed to be built. Supporting regulations were enacted for this; thus, a legal law was tried to prevent this technical problem to some extent from the technical obstacle in front of renewable energy projects. What does that mean? Let's say there is a hydroelectric power plant when you cannot use hydroelectric power by using solar panels on the land of the hydroelectric power plant at the same time. With a system such as solar panels or vice versa, the model we call a hybrid. It is aimed to reduce the imbalance that renewable energy plants will create in the system. A legal arrangement has been made regarding this. We expect more regulations and more incentives to be given in such matters.

GB: Thank you very much, Ms. Nigar. Now, we consider the political developments that developed simultaneously with its legal dimension, for example, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. On the other hand, with the rapid adaptation of new technologies in the world and the emergence of problems regarding cyber security in critical units, what do you think about the technological and political developments? Which way does it take the process? I want to ask this one. Right after that, while we are intensifying renewable energy in our lives, we sometimes forget at some point that the facilities that produce renewable energy are elemental mines. An energy system is created with elements within a group of minerals called rare earth elements. Therefore, our dependence on mines will continue, even if we start to move away from oil and natural gas. So, how do you evaluate the process in the light of these technological, physical, and political developments?

NG: Let me first talk about the global situation's political conjuncture. The latest developments in Ukraine have put the energy market in big trouble in terms of natural gas, and in fact, we have seen once again how dependent we are on natural gas, fossil fuels, and, in this sense, on Russia. But I think it will have a positive effect rather than a negative effect. We have seen a lot of its negative impact on the markets. You know, natural gas cuts were made, prices increased, and an incredible price increase. This is not just a situation in Turkey; this is why there has been an increase in costs worldwide. Of course, we saw its adverse effects in the short term. However, in the medium and long time, this seems to accelerate the energy transformation because the European Union did not take a step back as a reaction to Russia's actions.

On the contrary, it will continue on its way by deciding to increase investments in renewable energy and even by increasing its sanctions on Russia in this sense. Of course, this will increase renewable energy investments and the number of power plants. Therefore, in this context, I think it was in the previous question that the European Union has not changed its net-zero targets and plans to reach these targets quickly. The regulations he made and the sanctions he planned to impose show us this. Therefore, I think there will be a positive result here, not a negative result. Indicators in the market are in that direction because the interest in renewable energy has grown even more. It's not just the war; it's not just the Ukraine issue. At the same time, the carbon taxes to be implemented by the European Union due to the Green Deal announced make us expect a sudden increase in renewable energy projects in this regard. The whole market is based on the economy, and when you impose additional taxes, everyone will be forced to consume clean energy at some point. I think this will increase the number of renewable energy facilities. Yet we depend on the mines and will for a very long time. Not only for the construction of energy facilities but the production of everything in our lives, maybe even if we are unaware of it, there is usually something about the mines in them.

Let me give you an example. For example, we talked about earlier. In Esin, we consider energy, mining, and infrastructure, all three together. And three is a department, and I am its manager. Therefore, I am also closely interested in mining works. On this occasion, I can give a direct example. I visited a mining project last week, and in that mining project, sand is extracted from the ground; imagine a place in the middle of a mountain; there is a hole under the environment, and the mining company pulls a material that we see as sand from there.

I asked what the mine was used for. It is a mineral used for filtering and removing the residues of the wines or other beverages produced, especially those made from grapes. Now, while drinking any beverage, we might not have thought of this because of how much mineral is used in this, but even when drinking any liquid, there is only actually mining. Therefore, our dependence on mine will continue as we live. The critical issue is how the mine was mined, from which lands it was mined, the damage to the environment while extracting the mine, or the return of the mine as close as possible to its original state after the mine is closed. As long as attention is paid to such issues and areas that are very important and natural wonders are protected, mining should not seem so terrible to us because we need it so much, not only for energy projects but for our whole life. But in terms of energy projects, there is a production system based on mines, which creates a carbon footprint in the energy project itself. But this will also be minimized with technological developments in the coming years because the critical thing is how much electricity we can produce using less material and how much energy we can make. I hope that as technology develops, we will be able to do this more, and the mineral-based materials used will also be reduced.

GB: Thank you. I'm asking this out of some personal curiosity. Because I am interested in this subject, cyber-attacks on these critical infrastructures have become very frequent lately. The structure of viruses is designed so that a virus attacking a facility is never detected at all. It is waiting for its time to attack. Along with the so-called zero-days method and in my readings for other research, I have read that people, institutions, or states that develop this technology have an advantage, as legal processes come behind technological development, so what can be defined as a cyber-attack or not. There is also the other side of the business, we also touched on the mine, how do you evaluate the developments on the infrastructure side? Can I get your views on this subject?

NG:  As you said about infrastructure, we are faced with a very similar problem in the energy law of those regulations. There are similar issues on the infrastructure side. Generally, regulations are brought to solve the events after the events happen. Therefore, in the time that elapsed until those events happened, the damage occurred unfortunately and became uncontrollable. This is not only in infrastructure regulations, but also in the energy market. I gave an example of system imbalances. This imbalance comes first. For this reason, facilities may not be established for years. After that, a legal regulation regarding the construction of hybrid facilities is being brought to see how we can overcome this. We also see this problem here. For example, the European Union published the Green Deal. Following this, Turkey needs to make the legislative changes quickly, but we have a problem with following it slowly. Therefore, I can say this both in terms of cyber security measures and in terms of the overall development of the projects. A little bit of law follows behind. In other words, let me state that legal developments are somewhat shaped by the market. I haven't come across a regulation on this subject recently, especially for the energy market. I think it will probably follow the general regulations in the energy market. But while I'm at it, let me talk about this. For example, we are talking about using a new source called hydrogen. We are discussing hydrogen all over the world right now. But I will say that this is not only Turkey's problem. I'm studying hydrogen regulations in all countries. I told you at the same time that we work as part of Baker McKenzie. In other words, we get support from Baker McKenzie offices in this regard. In fact, the same issue has become a problem all over the place right now. Let's say we're going to do a hydrogen project, but there's no regulation; we don't know what's going to happen. Incentives are not clearly regulated, but something is said here and there, and so on. So right now, we're going there as a caravan. We will probably face a similar situation for the issue you asked about.

GB: Thank you. One of the studies we are trying to do at the Bilkent Energy Policy Research Center is about how we should design an education policy in 2053, from today, in order to reach the net-zero target. When you evaluate all these developments and your daily business life, what do you think would be beneficial to change in Turkey's education system? Of course, you may not feel comfortable because you are not an education specialist, but we ask this to all our participants because every sector can actually handle this issue in a better way from its own perspective. Therefore, we are very curious about your views on this matter, together with our colleagues.

NG: As you said, I am not an education expert. Therefore, I will only express my personal opinions on this subject. At the point reached today, of course, it is about training people who can support such technological developments and work in such projects and how we can better benefit from renewable energy sources. Because Turkey has a very high renewable energy potential. Of course, it is essential to train technical people who will focus on how we can benefit more from this and technical people who can create technology. But if we look at it in general, our most important and central issue in the energy market is sustainability at the point reached today. Therefore, it is crucial to provide education based on sustainability and raise people's awareness about it. So it's not just about the energy market. All people working everywhere should have this awareness. Therefore, it will probably be beneficial for the energy market to carry out additional studies on this in schools as well because I can say that sustainability now stands in a central place together with renewable energy. In addition, I think that the fact that schools create such institutions, organizations, and separate units, in the style of Bilkent Energy Policy Research Center and invite people who do research on this subject will further revitalize the developments that are specific to this subject. At that point, I must say that I love and appreciate your work very much.

GB: Thank you very much. We are very happy. Especially when we receive e-mails from our graduates and hear compliments about the work we do, when we hear that you want to be involved, that day is very happy. So that honor belongs to us. Thank you very much. Now, actually, she wrote about Ms. İlknur's question from the chat itself. Energy law is an area where I would like to work in the future. But he asked himself, "I'm worried that it's a congested area for those who are new to this area." What do you think about it? On the one hand, what kind of preparations can be beneficial for people who want to work in this field? What skills do they channel themselves into and what skills do they gain? We would like to hear your opinions on this as well.

GB: Let me first say this. Energy law is a very dynamic field. Therefore, when I look from the inside of the market, I think that especially lawyers are not blocked in this field. On the contrary, we are talking about a developing market. We are talking about a constantly changing market, and we are talking about a continually evolving regulatory infrastructure. Therefore, the energy market will continue to cause a lot of work, especially for legal professionals. It can be seen from the outside like this; tech companies, working with tech companies, like Apple, companies like Google. Or working in similar markets, in similar sectors, such as the health sector, creates much more job opportunities, or it may seem like there will be many more options, and the way for people will be open. It is accurate, and I have colleagues who do excellent work in those sectors as well. However, as the energy sector is constantly changing and constantly renewing, it is not really possible for the work in this sector to be finished, for this sector to become idle, or for all corners to be occupied.On the contrary, I think that the need for people who can follow dynamic and new developments day by day, follow the energy law and work on this issue will increase day by day. For example, let me give a sample here. My transfer to Esin Attorney Partnership is because the energy market has developed so much and is open to development. Our goal is to enlarge our department in this direction further. Even law firms, including law firms with foreign partners, are currently making notable investments in this field. Therefore, I see that we are open. If you are interested in energy law, do not have such a concern.

GB: Thank you. So, what qualities do you expect in a person who will work in your team? How do you evaluate the skills required to work at a high pace in an international law firm, and who would you like to work with? Let me ask this way.

NG: Let me start it right here. Corporate lawyers, that is, people who can integrate corporate life into their lives, can work more as I do. But this is not just something specific to corporate law firms to study energy law. It is possible to work in energy law and work with NGOs. It is possible to specialize in energy law and take part in academia. In other words, many different forms of this profession can be done by dealing with energy law. It is also possible to act as a litigation attorney and deal with energy law issues in a local office that you open yourself to as long as you have an interest in that field and carry out studies in that field and show this to companies and people. Having said this, of course, it should be noted that. In the energy sector, especially the big players consist of companies. We provide legal services to companies, not individuals. Moreover, to operate in the energy sector, there is an obligation to be a legal person, apart from unlicensed electricity generation facilities. Therefore, our business is always with companies. For this reason, we are constantly in the corporate structure in our daily life. Thus, first of all, he/she should enjoy working in this corporate structure and be happy. What does this mean? We may also have comfortable periods from time to time. But we can also have very busy periods. If the person already likes these, I recommend that people who love to make them do it. Otherwise, it can turn into torture. This is a somewhat general comment. It's not just about energy law. Let me give an example from today. My work is not done yet today, and I left my work unfinished at the last minute to attend this meeting. I will continue to work after I turn this off. We can work at this pace, but we also have jobs that are completed on time, during the day. I think that people who are able to keep up with such tempos from the beginning will be more involved and happy. In order to deal with the same energy law, I recommend that you like administrative law more or less. Because our cases related to energy law, of course, are energy sales contracts, for example, or private law contracts or construction contracts. Therefore, private law is also involved. But, especially when we look at the regulations, the licenses are given by the administration, the penalties it imposes, and the inspections and actions it carries out always bring the administration and administrative action before us. You can accept this administrative action and act accordingly, or you can object to it or file a lawsuit. Therefore, managing all these processes requires an excellent knowledge of administrative law. Therefore, as energy lawyers, we have to know private law. Because all relations in the market are based on private law, on the other hand, there is a high level of regulation in the market. We called it a regulated market. Therefore, we have to know and love administrative law. I don't want to love both of them. If I'm just a private lawyer or just administrative law, it would be a little tricky. Therefore, I think lawyers who work in private law and have good knowledge of administrative law can work more comfortably in the energy market. We, and especially my colleagues, pay attention to such issues.

GB: Thank you so much. As you said, the energy sector itself is extensive, and there are many concepts that we need to know in different fields. It also requires basic economics knowledge. It also requires basic political understanding. Requires basic engineering knowledge. Because it is essential to have this information in order to have the skills to evaluate the concepts and the infrastructure of the energy audience, it is important to understand digital development and to follow current technologies. We do not operate in the field of law, but when we think about the issues we enter during the day and the concepts we try to understand, an imposter syndrome comes with it comes to mind. I don't know how we will cope, and there is an intense work pace that comes with the thought of whether what we are doing will really work. On the other hand, I would like to return to other questions.

 

NG: What you said is very accurate. I also want to add this. At the same time, you need to be interested in the market. The market is changing very quickly. I've said this many times, though. Because it is so important to us that this variability, it is necessary to constantly follow the market and the technical developments in the market. For example, when storage technologies get cheaper, people want to use them storage technologies, and this is reflected in legal regulations. Therefore, you cannot comment on it without following the market developments. Or let's say I talked about unlicensed generation plants. Let me be very short. As a general rule, power generation plants are activities subject to license.

But there are some exceptions. In some, it is possible to establish a power generation plant from the energy market regulatory authority without obtaining a license. In these unlicensed facilities, for example, a new clause was introduced. According to that article, the following provision was made in the legislation: The person who established the unlicensed production facility pays the expenses of the connection facilities. Now, knowing more or less what this connection facility is, what we call the connection facility means the cables that will pass through the fields. Don't just think of a transformer. Therefore, as we know more or less what they are, it is necessary to know what they are, and when you know this, you can make a comment that expropriation may be required there, or that it may take such a month to get the job done there, as a lawyer. But if you do not know this, it will not be possible to make this interpretation of the nature of these connection facilities. Therefore, it is necessary to dominate the energy market technically. At the same time, it is necessary to follow financial and political developments, because energy is one of the sectors that are most affected by political developments.

 

GB: And of course, there is the thing: when someone wants to consult you about something from the outside, they automatically believe that you know everything.

 

NG: Yes. They also ask questions one by one. Really.

 

GB: Yes, lastly, of course, I think it's very important, I don't know what you think, but I see the Russian trucks that are constantly coming out of the attorney partnership. When there is a new update, you write something immediately. I think it is very useful to be able to analyze and report a piece of information very quickly. Do you have a study for this or do you think it develops with experience?

 

NG: Actually, our strategy in this office: if any regulation is made in any sector, we share it with our clients within a few days. We apply this in the same way in our energy, mining, and infrastructure departments. Our strategy for this is as follows: instead of publishing every change because there are so many changes, we prepare and publish notes about changes in our clients' lives that we can touch legally. In other words, you know that EMRA makes a decision every day. Here he sets the tariffs. It sets the prices. When we talk about the energy market, we are talking about renewable energy on every platform, but of course, we cannot put fossil fuels aside. Market regulations regarding them are also very important. Therefore, EMRA is constantly issuing tariff decisions, different institution decisions, practices, regulations, and communiqués. We do not choose all of these, but the subjects on which we can make a legal comment, and make them a division of labor within our team at that very moment, in that sense. This is followed by certain friends at certain periods, one person for one month, and another person in the second month. And our friends, who detect them, make their preparations quickly and send our information notes to our clients. This is how it happens. Otherwise, it is incredibly difficult for people to keep themselves up-to-date on the energy market.

 

GB: Exactly. We have a team where we update the news on whatever subject we are working on here. We are constantly updating it together. I want to return to the questions, Ms. Nigar. Mr. Onur wrote to me, "Are the PPA agreements mentioned by Ms. Nigar being able to be made as an unlicensed comprehensive bilateral agreement? " he asked.

 

NG: This is how I answer it. Now unlicensed projects are the exception to licensed projects. The general rule is licensed production. Small-scale projects targeting self-consumption were granted the right to be established without a license, by obtaining a license from EMRA, but to support renewable projects. However, since these projects are given the right to be established for self-consumption, it is currently forbidden for these projects to sell electricity by bilateral agreement. This was completely forbidden. These projects would never sell electricity. So what will happen? This was completely forbidden. These projects would never sell electricity. So what will happen? "Electrical energy can be produced in excess. You cannot control how much you can produce. When it is a renewable resource" we said. Then what will happen if we produce more electricity in unlicensed projects. We can't control either. Did we mention to him about the state Yekdem mechanism? Under the Yekdem mechanism, the state buys the electricity produced by unlicensed projects. Therefore, there is no sale with Corporate-PPAs, that is, through bilateral agreements between private individuals, but directly to the state, but for surplus needs because the rule in the unlicensed project is not the sale of electricity, but the use of electricity by the producer himself. Think of it like solar panels on the roofs of houses. They set it up in factories. They set it up in larger facilities, but the rule is self-consumption. But there was a development in the market. We have already said that this supplement is a 10-year mechanism. Therefore, unlicensed power plants could only sell this surplus energy to Yekdem for 10 years. There was a question in the market, what will be done after 10 years, this energy. An answer to that question has recently been brought. It was said, "After 10 years, if these facilities want, to retail in the market, They can continue to sell this electricity unlicensed at a one-sided clearing price, but they will still sell it to the market, so again, they can get a license from the incumbent supply company or these unlicensed projects can get a license, they can apply to EMRA for their projects, and you can sell it to anyone you want after you get the license. There is no restriction that you can only sell it to the government, or they can also sell it with Corporate-PPA by obtaining a license after this 10-year Yekdem period. Therefore, unlicensed projects must consume the electricity themselves, and after the first 10-year period, they can sell it to other people on the condition that they get a license, but we expect the details of this to be regulated. For example, the first arrangement was made in this way, but for this to be implemented, it is expected that the secondary arrangements will be made in detail. It hasn't been done for a long time. But I think it will come soon. Let me add this: Of course, unlicensed projects have a short lifespan. When you say short-lived: 10 years have not passed since unlicensed projects entered the legislation. Therefore, Yekdem has not expired for any project yet, so this need was not very urgent in the market, preliminary arrangements have been made for what we will do in the next 10 years, but in any case, we are waiting for the second regulations. I hope I have given an adequate answer.

 

GB: Thank you, I think it turned out very well, Serper has a question; Could the reason why Turkey could not reach its potential in renewable energy could be the instability of energy laws or the negative impact on the environment of trust between the foreign investor and the country? I would like to link to the thing here, you took part in a presentation about renewable energy investment in Japan briefly, I followed it, I think it was last year. While answering this question, can we also take the comparison with Japan, in which field is Japan better than us? Maybe we're better, I don't know.

 

NG: Now we also need technological developments, at the same time, since we have not been producing panels and turbines for a very long time, panels have been started now, especially in fuel and renewable energy welding projects, and the use of domestic products has been made compulsory to a certain extent, thus speeding up panel production in Turkey or the production of parts to be used in renewable energy facilities, for a long time, because we imported all the equipment, there was a more expensive and difficult market for Turkey. If I compare it with Japan, I make a comparison with a country model that produces the equipment they use in their projects, you know, their biggest advantage is that they have both technology and equipment in their structure, and we are buying both technology and equipment from abroad. In this regard, special incentives have been introduced for the production of equipment in Turkey, especially in renewable energy, In this regard, investments to be made with regional investment incentives are also supported, so I think that investments will increase in line with the increase in domestic production. Of course, it is necessary to be ready for this technologically, offshore wind is also used in Japan. Offshore projects make a great contribution to Japan because there are limitations on projects that can be done on land, but if you can do it in the sea, if you can install that project, namely the solar panels on the sea, a little more comfortable space is provided here, so I think offshore projects have made a great contribution to Japan, of course, it requires a very advanced system in terms of technology and infrastructure. Turkey's transmission and distribution infrastructure are good, it can increase renewable energy projects, but importing and bringing all the technology from abroad slowed the process down a bit for Turkey, I hope it will be prevented in time. Turkey's potential is very high in the current situation, the reason why he couldn't reach his potential was that some of the potentials started to be used very quickly with Yekdem. The momentum gained with Yekdem is very positive for Turkey, but in the current slowdown and not being able to use its full potential, Yekdem prices should be converted to TL, This is why foreign investors are a little more hesitant. As we said at the beginning, I hope that this will be prevented by paving the way for these Corporate PPAs and introducing additional incentives.

 

GB: Thank you very much. Lastly, are there any resources you follow in terms of current developments other than the ones you mentioned, I would like to ask him during the day? Also, would learning a language other than English be beneficial in terms of energy and law?

 

NG: Let me tell you as a source we have reports that come to us internally, like our office. In other words, we have a system like this, we do not enter the systems of news sites of all institutions one by one, but everything that happens in the energy market comes to us by recovering. I can say that you have such an advantageous use of resources, but of course, it is necessary to follow the legislation well, to memorize the energy market regulatory agency, and to follow the whole site constantly for Turkey, For developments abroad, it is necessary to follow the associations that work on energy and sustainability, the resources of the United Nations and, of course, the decisions published by the European Union. But apart from these, we have one-on-one news sites, We also have additional sources that we collect from all major and reliable news sources and are presented to us as reports that we follow every day.

 

GB: Thank you very much, shall we learn a language other than English?

 

NG: Yes, there was an English question. It is necessary to have a great command of English, of course, we have no doubts about it. A language other than English is not required in business life, I have never needed it. I have been involved in energy projects for 12 years,

It has happened in the projects we have done in different countries, it has happened in Africa, it has happened in Europe, including them, we can always carry out our business in English. A second language is not needed. A second language is a personal preference, but I appreciate it very much, sometimes I meet colleagues who speak 3-4-5 languages ​​in meetings, it is admirable, Although it is a subject that I appreciate as a personal preference, I can also make a general comment on energy law or working in international offices, so a second foreign language is not something we need.


 

GB: Thank you very much, thank you very much for taking time out of your evening shift and conducting this pleasant seminar and interview with us, it was really useful information for both those who want to enter this field and those who work in this field. We would like to host you in our school one day, let's take his word in advance.

 

NG: Okay, I'll stop by.

 

GB: And we always want to keep in touch in this way, it was very enjoyable, thank you very much for your participation.

 

NG: I thank you, goodbye, good evening everyone

 

GB: We wish good evening to our dear guests, we will upload our video to Youtube as soon as possible.