The Boosting Effective and Sustainable Transformation for Energy (BEST) project, with an approximate €3 million budget, kickstarted in Turkey's western province of Izmir to develop a competitive cluster in clean and renewable energy.
"The three-year project in Izmir focuses on renewable energy and in particular on efficiently manufacturing equipment for the production of renewable energy and related services," Michael Dan, the project's team leader, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
IZKA in partnership with the Association of Energy Industrialists and Businessmen (ENSIA) is running the project, which is funded by the European Commission and Turkey's Ministry of Industry and Technology.
Project activities will focus on the value chain and cluster analysis for clean energy, the preparation of development strategies and action plan and cluster promotion and internationalization, with technical support supplied by a consortium led by international development company, DAI Human Dynamics.
"Essentially what we are trying to do is to apply a cluster approach and to improve the cooperation between companies, agencies, universities resulting in better exports and more growth,” Dan said.
Such collaboration is difficult in very competitive industries, Dan explained but added that through this project, the ultimate goal is to learn from similar companies, suppliers and universities to develop a better product.
“We are trying to bring in the associations, media, the chamber of commerce, universities and then finally the companies in order to promote better cooperation," he said.
The project will focus on four sub-clusters in renewable energy, including geothermal, biomass, solar and wind. The participants will assess the current situation in these sectors to determine if there are already established clusters that can be accelerated to allow speedier growth.
The funding will cover three areas, the first of which will be for analyzing the competitive advantage of the Izmir cluster and its growth opportunities. The second for knowledge dissemination and consulting and training services for the companies in the sector. The third will cover education for the renewable energy cluster organization under ENSIA, which will perpetuate the project work with sub-clusters and continue with the work after project completion.
The Izmir clusters are in the form of industry associations, which Dan described as a good stepping stone for project development.
Part of the project work is to look retrospectively at existing supply chains, product sources and university research to develop new and more efficient products, he explained.
He lauded Turkey and Izmir for its potential in this area with its low manufacturing cost base and good universities that are able to support the more efficient manufacture of new and better products.
"Once you become competitive, then the next step is how you compete with other countries with similar industries. It is easier in Izmir to integrate both manufacturing and research whereas in some European countries’ salaries are simply too high to produce equipment there and you end up outsourcing it," Dan concluded.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu