Değerhan Usluel x Enerji IQ Interview: Türkiye should not leave its steps to the last minute

05 July 2023


The Technology Development Foundation of Turkey (TTGV), which was established in order to increase the global competitiveness of Turkish companies, has shifted its focus to 'Climate Technologies', on which the entire world focused. Has set its motto as "Climate Pioneer", the Foundation draws attention to the opportunities ahead of the Turkish industry in a world where international trade rules are rapidly adapting to the climate. Değerhan Usluel, TTGV Chairman, highlights the importance of catching this mega transformation wave and says, "Turkey should not leave its steps in the field of climate technologies to the last minute."

Speaking to Enerji IQ, TTGV Chairman Usluel defines TTGV, which was established in 1991 as a private and public partnership with an international agreement, as "an institution that can look at the opportunities of the future for the Turkish industry, implement appropriate models, and thus become a catalyst for permanent change with the exemplary effect it creates".  

Usluel states that they have managed a size of 500 million dollars in technology development programs since their establishment, and that they have ensured the activation of a fund size of nearly one billion dollars with their investments in venture capital funds in Turkey, and underlines that climate technologies, which are on the agenda of the world, are a great springboard and opportunity for Turkey.

Pioneering Role

Pointing out that the Turkish industry faces a comprehensive paradigm of competitive threats and opportunities in a world where international trade rules are rapidly adapting to climate issues, Usluel explains the process for Turkey as follows:

"In our country, first of all, demand needs to be created with concrete applications in climate technologies, the market needs to develop, and suppliers with the competence to integrate into global chains need to grow. Climate technologies will not only contribute to Turkey's value-added technology exports, but will also increase its resilience against economic and geopolitical risks. Therefore, in the coming period, TTGV will pioneer the development of the climate technology sector in Turkey by realizing first-of-its-kind climate technology projects and triggering market formation."

Taking Risks is Important for Breakthrough

Usluel emphasized that acting with the perspective of "Let someone else do it and then we'll see" -as climate technology investments are seen as risky and costly- would mean missing the opportunity of mega transformation, despite the fact that climate technology investments are also on the agenda of the private sector, Usluel said, "The reason why we consider this issue so important is that for the first time in the history of the Republic, Turkey has the chance to catch a technology wave at the same time as the whole world, not twenty years behind. Turkey is in the same group with everyone else in a race that has just started. Turkey should not leave its steps to the last minute."

How does TTGV select the projects?

Explaining that TTGV has determined a roadmap within the framework of energy, structure, mobility, agriculture, and industrial production, Usluel said, "Within the scope of the base study we have prepared under the name 'TTGV Climate Radar', we determine the most suitable projects for production by deep diving in pioneering sectors." Usluel said that they make nuanced evaluations on the focus area, and that they are endeavoring to realize large-scale projects, which can be easily copied by everyone when they are realized, on subjects, the technology of which has passed the laboratory stage but the initial project of which has not yet been realized -at least in Turkey- for commercial reasons. "We primarily select topics that meet the needs of the market, have a high potential for replication, and will create value globally," said Usluel explained their process as follows:

"We conduct one-on-one interviews and studies with industry professionals on a quarterly basis in order to identify prominent opportunities and problems. Then, we mature the project in an executive group with sector representatives, and as a result, we start the process of investing in the projects.

At this point, we have completed our first two deep dives: "Long Term Energy Storage Technologies at Grid Scale" and "Clean Hydrogen Technologies". Now, we are working on "Decarbonization and Sustainable Cement Production for the Building and Construction Sector" and "Carbon Capture, Storage, and Utilization Technologies for Emission Intensive Production Sectors".

A joint analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the IMF indicates that in order to attain the 2030 targets, world energy investments need to increase to $5 trillion annually, with a large portion of this going to clean energy technologies.  In 2021, global climate technology investments increased by 210 percent compared to the previous year. As can be seen, climate technologies are far beyond other issues with respect to size, as they will change all the infrastructure and production we know.  Because of all these reasons, as the game-changing pioneer of change for "Technology Producing Turkey", we are assuming responsibility in the climate technology race and we have set out to see Turkey among the main actors in the world."

Areas of Deep Diving

  • Long Term Energy Storage Technologies
  • Clean Hydrogen Technologies
  • Decarbonization and Sustainable Cement Production for the Building and Construction Sector
  • Carbon Capture, Storage, and Utilization Technologies for Emission Intensive Production Sectors

Read the interview in Turkish