Home / USTDA Newsroom / Director Speeches / 2013 / Us–turkey Smart Grid Workshop Opening Remarks
Leocadia I. Zak, Director, USTDA
Istanbul, Turkey

February 12, 2013— Good morning, and welcome to the U.S.-Turkey Smart Grid Workshop. It is wonderful to see so many old friends in the audience and over the next few days, I look forward to meeting those of you whom I do not know. On behalf of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and all of our sponsors and collaborators, thank you for joining us.

This event would not be possible without the cooperation and assistance of our many partners. I would like to begin by thanking Mr. Nihat Ozdemir, Chairman of ELDER, for his organization's support and guidance as we have been planning this event together.

I am especially pleased to share the podium today with the Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Selahattin Çimenand, and his colleagues at EMRA and TEIAS. They have been important partners in our work in Turkey, and for this Workshop. I would also like to thank Ambassador Ricciardone for his participation today and for the invaluable support that has been provided by his staff in the months leading up to this event.

There is no question that Turkey has experienced impressive economic growth. The country is on its way to achieving “ten by ‘23” – That is, becoming one of the world's top ten economies by 2023, the one hundredth anniversary of Turkish independence.

Rapid, large-scale economic growth typically creates increased demand for energy and the need for efficient and robust energy infrastructure. For that reason, the Government of Turkey has set goals for increasing the share of renewable energy to 30%, and increasing installed power to 125,000 MW by 2023.

USTDA is strongly committed to supporting Turkey's energy goals. In 2009, on the eve of President Obama's visit to Turkey, USTDA signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources that outlines cooperation in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean coal technology. Since that time, we have initiated a dozen activities that are mutually benefitting the Turkish government, Turkish firms, and US businesses. In fact, last year alone, the majority of USTDA's activities in Turkey focused on clean and efficient energy sources.

Our hosting of this smart grid workshop is an additional example of USTDA's commitment to assisting Turkey to achieve its vital energy initiatives.

As we all know, smart grid technologies help to conserve energy, save money, and reduce emissions of harmful pollutants. In addition, they provide a greater level of information and control to customers. The result is a safer and more reliable electricity network, which drives down costs for households and businesses. Perhaps even more importantly, however, with the implementation of smart grid technologies customer demands can be met almost immediately without waiting for new power generation to come on line.

Recognizing these benefits, Turkey is making significant investments in new and improved infrastructure, including transmission systems, distribution systems, as well as smart grid technologies.

So--what role does USTDA play?

USTDA is an independent U.S. government agency designed to create partnerships between U.S. companies and overseas partners that will promote economic development and generate trade.

With respect to energy, USTDA has supported numerous activities that successfully connected the U.S. private sector with sponsors of clean energy projects around the world. We accomplish this by two principal means: our Project Development Program, and our International Business Partnership Program.

Under the International Business Partnership Program, USTDA directly connects international project sponsors with U.S. providers of goods and services, to achieve rapid results. We do this by sponsoring training programs, bringing delegations on customized visits to the United States, and of course, hosting conferences and dialogues such as this Workshop.

For example, last year USTDA hosted a Smart Grid Reverse Trade Mission that brought public and private sector Turkish delegates to the United States to gain exposure to advanced smart grid technology through site visits to U.S. utilities and meetings with leading ICT and power sector firms. I am pleased to see a number of participants from that trip here today.

Under the Project Development Program, USTDA provides grants directly to overseas public sector or private sector project sponsors for priority development projects in their countries. The funding may be used to provide technical assistance, perform feasibility studies, or to launch pilot projects.

For example, USTDA provided funding to the Baskent Elektrik Company for a Smart Grid Feasibility Study. The study is assisting Baskent to seamlessly integrate smart grid technologies with its current infrastructure and networks. These upgrades will benefit millions of customers in Turkey, and with their implementation, Baskent aims to more than double their customer base by 2015. Studies such as this one enable Turkey's private sector leaders to most effectively connect with U.S. manufacturers of goods and services and work together to accomplish the Turkish Government's energy goals.

Additionally, I'm pleased to announce that last week U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Jess Baily and Deputy Undersecretary of the Turkish Treasury Cavit Dagdas signed a grant for a smart grid feasibility study for TEAIS that will help to identify potential grid enhancements.

USTDA sees tremendous opportunities for cooperation with U.S. companies as Turkey plans for a stronger smart grid infrastructure. Our corporate sponsors here today (OSISoft, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Accenture, Applied Materials, GE Digital Energy, Silver Spring Networks, and Cisco) and our other U.S. industry delegates present excellent examples of U.S. companies that are anxious to work closely with our Turkish partners to develop and strengthen a clean energy infrastructure.
Together, we can build the relationships and share the knowledge necessary to accomplish Turkey's power infrastructure goals. I am looking forward to our discussions today and tomorrow, as well as the ongoing partnerships we will foster.

Thank you very much.