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The Kerkenes Workshop on Sustainability at METU, Ankara, on Thursday December 4, 2008, successfully brought together key players and stakeholders for presentations, exchanges of ideas and discussions on formal collaboration that could be established.

Prof. Canan Özgen, Director of the Graduate School of Natural & Applied Sciences, gave the first of the opening speeches, commending both the activities of the Kerkenes Project and the promotion of renewable energy. She quoted the 1987 report by the Brundtland Commission defining sustainable development as being "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Uzay Peker, Assistant Dean of the Faculty Architecture, in his speech praised the interaction between the Kerkenes Project and the educational programs of the University.

The British Embassy Energy and Environment Secretary, Dan Wilson, stressed the relation between carbon emissions and the global finance sector and the global concern for climate change. He works to promote a low carbon, high growth global economy, which is why the British Embassy has provided support and funding for this aspect Kerkenes Eco-Center. He explained that:

This means economic growth without a large environmental footprint. We believe global investment must be directed away from carbon intensive to low carbon solutions. Investment in other areas, like buildings and transport, should use the latest energy efficient technologies and support the development of renewable energy sources.

Dan Wilson then went on to emphasize the role of local communities in future action that is directed towards a sustainable decrease in carbon emission and stated that the Kerkenes Eco-Centre is a great example of work at the local-level. He then ended by saying that:

Small-scale energy saving projects like housing insulation, and using solar cookers and heaters will help individuals to make financial savings and tackle climate change. There will also be opportunities to make a living from these projects, and it is good to see local village women developing and selling their own products in Kerkenes. So I hope that the workshop today is able to come up with ideas on how to further develop local level renewable energy sources. And that it may be possible to replicate some of these in other regions. I also hope that decision-makers in Ankara will be able to consider new ideas for local level efforts on renewables and talk about what is currently happening.

The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources was represented by Zeynep Günaydınwhose talk on "Renewable Energy Policies and Applications in Turkey" emphasized the importance of developing the existing potential of geothermal, solar and wind energy in Turkey. She also emphasised that Turkey should find energy saving strategies and that everyone should take energy saving measures.

At the start of the first panel, the Governor of Yozgat, Amir Çiçek, gave an overview of the use of renewable energy in the province of Yozgat and expressed strong support for the development of technology that will reduce the dependency on fossil fuel and thus decrease the carbon dioxide emission. He reviewed the potential for renewable sources of energy in Yozgat. The Çekerek (Süreyyabey) dam, once completed will be generating energy as well as providing water for irrigation. Yozgat's yearly average insolation is about 2457.6 hours or approximately 6.7 hours per day. Considering that Europe has an annual average of 1500 hours, it is clear that there is great potential for the use of solar energy in the region. Geothermal energy is already being used for heating in several housing schemes. Finally, the Governor stressed the role of forests in decreasing the percentage of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere. The 1.935.400 trees planted in Yozgat in the first 6 months of 2008 will help in securing a sustainable future for generations to come.

The Sorgun District Governor, Ertuğrul Kılıç, followed up by discussing rural development taking as example Şahmuratlı Village where the Eco-Center has developed into an important model over the last few years. Sorgun District is the most populated district in the Yozgat region and since over half of its population lives in rural areas it is important to focus on sustainable rural development. He assured continuing support for the initiatives of the SAH-DER, the Şahmuratlı Village Association, and the Kerkenes Eco-Center Project.

Projects related to renewable energy in Sorgun were presented by the Municipality engineer, Volkan Öztürk, who illustrated his talk with the rapidly developing housing estates heated by geothermal energy as well as the new tourist Termal Otel offering luxurious swimming pools.

Finally three representative of ŞAH-DER, the Kerkenes and Şahmuratlı Village Association, shared their first hand experience of the pioneering project in their village. Osman Muratdağı, Chairman of the Association, gave a short history of the development of the project and necessary infrastructure. Faruk Muradağı, SAH-DER Coordinator, described some of the recent development and new project. Finally Ayşe Muratdağı, representing the ladies, gave a lively account of the significant participation and contribution of the village women in the project explaining their choice of renewable energy and the advantages of the production units used at the Kerkenes Eco-Center. This also highlighted the social benefits.

The talk by Françoise Summers and Soofia Elias-Özkan was postponed to the afternoon session at the METU Convention Center as the lunch break, during which solar cooked products were displayed and tasted, was well awaited. The Ankara Hilton renewed its support by contributing to lunch. Guests were also offered the innovative pizza with Kerkenes wild plum marmalade.

The second panel offered to the audience a more general overview of projects in Turkey. Discussions followed

Ali Gökmen presented Güneş Köy (Village of the Sun) where organically grown crops and bio-fuel are produced for a more sustainable future. An oil press has been installed in a small strawbale building produces bio-diesel from canola seeds which is used to run a tractor.

Tülin Keskin, member of the Board of Directors of the Turkish National Committee of the World Energy Council, presented the Proposals Policies for Renewable Energy in Turkey and compared statistics from Turkey with those of other countries. She emphasized the importance of promoting the use of renewable energy in Turkey and explained how companies benefit from their use in the manufacture of products.

The conclusive talk entitled 'Development of Renewable Energy and Model Proposals in Turkey' was given by Arif Künar, General Director of EDSM and consultant for the METU Research and Implementation Centre for Built Environment and Design (RICBED/MATPUM). Perhaps the most important message expressed was that to minimise energy loss there should be localised energy production rather than centralized ones.

The program ended with the Thursday Talk, a regular event organized by the METU Ethics Research Group, 'Think Globally, Act Locally for a Sustainable Future'. Guests joined others from METU at the Convention Center where the speakers, Ali and Ince Gökmen, Françoise Summers and Soofia Elias-Özkan, all stressed that METU should play a leading role in the sustainability issue and become a model green campus.