The aim of the relationship between the Energy Law and the
Environmental Law is the generation of energy with environmental
harm in levels that can be tolerated by the environment.
The Administration is responsible to ensure "sustainable
development", which is the main target, and on the other hand
ensure the "protection of the environment"; which can
only be attained through the utilization of Renewable Energy
Sources ("RES") fır the generation of energy. The
current preference of the Administration is to establish legal
regulations to introduce certain incentive and support mechanisms
("RESSM"), rather than imposing obligatory rules for the
utilization of RESs.
The Administration primarily determines the regions where RSS
investments can be conducted, produces RSS maps and sends such maps
to the bodies authorized to prepare zoning plans in such regions,
and such RSS regions are ex-officio recorded in the zoning plans by
the relevant authorities. In regions registered as RSS regions, no
zoning plans may be prepared against such nature of the region. RSS
areas may be set in certain lands within protected natural areas,
subject to the permission of the Natural Heritage Preservation
Boards. In the determination of RSS areas, public benefits and
environmental factors conflict within the context of the energy
needs of the country. For example, wind turbines are generally
located in areas such as protected areas, shore areas, etc., due to
the nature of such regions. Establishment of such facilities
inherently requires interventions to those special areas. In such
conflicts, the "principle decision" of the Cultural and
Natural Heritage Conservation Higher Board, dated 20.07.2011 and
No.688, provides directions. The said decision provides that;
"In a process where utilization of sources harmless to
the environment is gaining ever more importance for the protection
of the environment globally; within the context of the policy
providing that establishment of wind power plants is principally
deemed appropriate in Turkey, as is throughout the world, and
should be supported and encouraged; the specifications and
locations of the wind power plants in protected natural areas, as
well as the previous conservation board resolutions for such areas
may be re-assessed by the conservation boards, taking into
consideration the opinions of the relevant public institutions and
organizations..." . The said boards assess each case
based on their own conditions, and resolve on the issues based on
the Environmental Impact Assessment ("EIA") reports.
Then, what is EIA?
EIA roughly assesses issues such as "What harm may be
caused to the environment?", "What precautions were taken
to minimize the harm?", etc. The EIA regulation in effect
includes detailed provisions on the topic.
The criteria regarding whether or not being subject to the EIA
regulations is whether or not the activity performed has any
impacts on the environment, regardless of the institutions being
public or private. The regulations provide that performance of
certain activities specified in the chart are definitely subject to
a "EIA Positive" report, while for other activities,
requirement for a "EIA Report" should be assessed on a
case-by-case basis by the authorized administration, based on the
specifications of the related location and the project. The
authorized administration is primarily the ministry; however, it is
provided that the decisive authority may be delegated to the
governorship of the related district for certain activities.
In cases where a project qualified for a "EIA
Positive" report is not initiated within 7 years, the
"EIA Positive" report will be expired. In case of a
"EIA Negative" report, the aspects of the activity that
resulted in the negative result may be corrected and a new
application may be filed. "EIA Positive" and "EIA
Negative" reports may be subject to lawsuits, as they are
final and executable activities within the context of the
Administrative Jurisdiction Procedures Law (İYUK).
Sanctions for violation of the EIA include termination of
activities and administrative fines in cases where the activities
are initiated in compliance with the EIA but violating activities
are performed later. Moreover, no incentives approvals, etc. are
Originally published April, 2013.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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