Turkey has been struck with one of the worst natural disasters recently, and we pay our deepest condolences to the victims and those affected. It is so sad to hear a country with one of the best green innovations in Europe to suffer from the tragedy.
Here, we are going to talk about the green innovation that actually makes the country stand out. And the innovation is how the country is providing free energy to its local farmers, using green energy resources.
From the town of Dagbely, outskirts of Antalya, a huge solar plant has been supplying the energy demand of local farmers for their farming activities. This is a great innovation that we should learn from, and copy for our future.
How great is this innovation? Can it help turkey rebuild the country after the devastating event? Here in this article we are going to talk about it.
The Farmland of Turkey
Let’s first talk about the city of Antalya. The city is known to be an important part of Turkey’s food system. It provides the country with enough amount of supply of fruit and vegetable for both local and international market.
The whole region is known to produce around one fifth of the country’s fruit and vegetable export. But because of that responsibility, the region is also responsible for 30% of the country’s greenhouse gasses production.
Of course, with such high impact, something needs to be done. However, stopping the production process altogether is not the best choice because it would directly affect around 60,000 people’s jobs and lives.
And do you know what kind of thing they do that produces a lot of greenhouse gasses? It is their irrigation system that consumes a lot of energy. They already knew about that, but what could they do since it directly impacts their lives.
Once the people tried to refrain their irrigation system, but it did not work well for them. The crops need to be irrigated or it will wither. And to let around one fifth of Turkey’s fruit and vegetable export products to wither is something big.
The Problem with Irrigation System
While irrigation system is needed to make sure the crops are getting enough water to grow, there are problems which we need to address. First problem is its impact on water and soil quality as a result of the process.
Poor uniformity of irrigation may cause over-irrigation to some parts of the soil, and lead to water pollution. Accompanied by poor waste management including the waste water and chemicals, it would further affect the water quality.
While poorly irrigated soil may become poor in salinity control and has higher salinity that results in the buildup of toxic salts. This is a common problem that occurs when the area with high evaporation rate gets poor irrigation.
The next problem farmers in turkey faced is basically related. High quality irrigation requires good amount of energy, especially when the irrigation system works on areas which are relatively further from the fresh water source both horizontally and vertically.
This kind of problem is the one that farmers in Antalya used to experience. Their high crop production rate needs to be maintained with high quality irrigation system which require a lot of energy. Until the solution for this problem finally came into light.
Help for Farmers in Turkey
The high environmental cost of their irrigation system is now a story from the past, since the construction of 100,000 meter squared solar plant can solve this problem. This is actually the city’s local authorities project to boost green energy production and electric mobility.
“Thanks to this environmentally friendly solution, we reduce carbon emissions and make energy savings,” said Ceren Ucar, the architect at Antalya Metropolitan Municipality.
Not only the system is now greener, the farmers in Antalya can now enjoy the irrigation system for free. Before, they were not only facing dirty consequences for their irrigation activities, but also relatively high cost to do that.
“Thanks to the municipal solar power plant we can irrigate almost for free. We grow corn and clover for animals here, and we also have olive trees,” said one local farmer in Antalya, Mehmet Mercan, to Eurogreen News.
Not only that, the solution seems to have also be able to increase the yield of the crops. “Our production has increased since we don’t fear irrigating anymore,” said Mehmet. This is a win-win solution for everyone.
Spreading the Goodness
The solar plants that farmers in Turkey are utilizing is not the only part of green conversion that the city’s local government adopted. In example, there are also other solutions to previous energy problems applied in the city hall.
At the rooftop of Antalya city hall, a set of solar farms has been installed to help the city reach its green energy demand. “This solar power plant can generate 260 kWp of power and has a 250-kWh storage capacity,” said Ceren Ucar.
Not only installing green energy source, the city hall is also equipped with many other weapons to fight their high energy consumption. In example, the city hall is also equipped with smart air conditioner and LED light system.
Its underground parking lot also has two charging stations that can help the employees charging their electric vehicles, the municipality’s electric cars, and 30 electric scooters that can be used by the employees.
Another innovation is also applied to the traffic management system. The city is changing the conventional buses into electric buses, and apply intelligent intersections where traffic lights can adapt its duration according to the amount of traffic and pollution levels.
Free energy is actually everywhere, and we just need to make peace with the nature to make use of it. In addition to that, it is our decision whether we want to make peace with the nature or not, as we have seen farmers in Antalya chose to do it and get the benefits.
We need to start now, before things get too late and we reach the point of no return. It is not too late.
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