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Turkey’s $5 Billion Smart-Grid Plan Seen Boosting Ties With U.S.

Turkey will spend $5 billion on smart power grids by 2015 to boost network efficiency, allowing North American companies to expand, the U.S. government said.

The U.S. sees “substantial opportunities for closer cooperation between the Turkish government and energy companies and U.S. companies that provide smart-grid technologies,” according to a statement from the consulate in Istanbul, which will hold a conference in the city tomorrow on grid investments.

Turkey, forecasting annual power-demand growth of 6.3 percent in the next two decades, has already lured investors including General Electric Co. as its energy industry expands. The country is bucking the trend of most emerging European nations, where retail electricity use trails growth in incomes.

The jump in demand increases the need for smart grids, which allow power generators and users to monitor consumption and reduce costs by saving energy in transmission. Turkey is seeking to boost efficiency of supply after demand grew 5.1 percent last year, while generation expanded only 4.2 percent, according to data from Turkish Electricity Transmission Co.

“If the utilities want to take advantage of this, the accurate metering and billing that smart grids can provide will be vital,” said Chris Rogers, a utilities analyst for Bloomberg Industries in London. “As Turkey becomes richer, more air-conditioning, solar power and electric vehicles will be bought, which also need smart grids to function properly.”

Smart meters installed across Europe will increase by an average 18 percent a year through 2020, peaking in 2018, according to projections from Bloomberg Industries. GE, Germany’s Siemens AG and Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S are among providers of power-generation equipment in Turkey, where the government is selling off operating rights for distribution grids to boost investment and reduce debt.

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