Stories

Smart solutions and close cooperation have turned the Kargi power development project in Turkey into a success story.

We have developed excellent local partnerships and gained valuable experience for the future.

The water is finally flowing through the tunnel that was literally blocking the Kargi project.

The landscape in Corum Province in northern Turkey is as varied as it is beautiful. Tall rock formations and barren hillsides are replaced by grassy plains and thin poplar trees around the next bend. These sudden changes in the landscape are the result of the North Anatolian Fault that cuts through this part of the country.

"Building a 12-kilometre-long tunnel through a geological fault is complicated and unpredictable," says Tor Ole Solheim, maintenance manager on the Kargi project.

The one-year delay bears testimony to the challenges the project has faced along the way. The giant tunnel-boring machine (TBM), which has completed most of the excavation of the tunnel, arrived at the site three months late and then got stuck while boring the tunnel.

Close dialogue with the contractor and constructive solutions steered the project safely to completion.

Overview of plant area
Operator

Built from scratch by Statkraft

"Kargi is the first power plant in Turkey which Statkraft has built from scratch," says Bilge Atlar, project manager for the Kargi plant. "We have developed excellent local partnerships and gained valuable experience for the future."

Kargi makes use of a water drop of 75 metres in Turkey's longest river, the Kizilirmak. Water is now finally flowing freely from the reservoir to the power station. The tunnel is 10 metres in diameter and has a water flow of an impressive 167,000 litres per second.

"When the tunnel boring machine got stuck, we blasted into the mountain from the other side using conventional methods," says Solheim. "The result proved very successful, the project moved forward quickly and we managed to recover some of the lost time."

With the commissioning of the power plant, Statkraft has more than quintupled its capacity in Turkey, from Çakit's 20 MW to Kargi's 102 MW. When Çetin opens in 2018, it will increase by a further factor of five.

The demand for energy in Turkey is increasing, and the country is a priority for Statkraft.

"Kargi's production amounts to no more than about one per cent of Turkey's total hydropower capacity," says Atlar. "In a market dominated by fossil energy sources, however, it is important and meaningful to contribute to more renewable energy."

Text: Alf Berg
Photo: Alf Berg
The article is also published in Statkraft's magazine People & Power no. 2/2015

Lunch at the plant
Overview of valley

The wait is almost over. By the summer of 2015 the Kargi plant will be fully operational. The demand for energy in Turkey is increasing, and the country is a priority for Statkraft.