Troya Environmental Association (Troya), working to ensure energy efficiency at urban and rural scales, received a grant and capacity development support from our Environmental Sustainability Fund in 2021 to create a digital platform bringing together renewable energy cooperatives and facilitating know-how sharing among them.
Read below our interview:
What is renewable energy? Can you tell us about Turkey’s renewable energy capacity and the studies on the sustainability of renewable energy?
Renewable energy defines energy resources where the consumption rate of the source is not greater than the production rate, so the source can renew itself. Renewable energy sources do not cause large amounts of carbon emissions like fossil fuels. For this reason, renewable energy is a solution to climate change caused by human impact, especially due to our energy needs.
The use of renewable energy and renewable resources in energy production is a new concept in our country. Electricity generation with renewable energy sources, which developed over the climate change and nuclear opposition in Europe, was founded on developing alternatives to fossil fuels in our country. When we look at the history of renewable energy in Turkey, apart from the dam investments in the 1970s, the first renewable investment was the Çeşme Wind Energy Power Plant established in 1993. The rapidly developing solar water heating sector followed the power plant. Generating electricity from the sun, which dates back to the 2000s, is rather new. Today, many local producers and civil society organisations are working on renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy is a solution to climate change caused by human impact, especially due to our energy needs.
You recently published the report Cooperatives in the Renewable Energy Sector: An Alternative Employment Model. Can you tell us about the report’s prominent findings and your recommendations?
As we mentioned above, the renewable energy sector developed in our country as an alternative to fossil fuels. Now, the world is rapidly moving away from fossil fuels because of the effects of climate change. The establishment of coal power plants was cancelled, and the existing ones are being dismantled gradually. In order to shift the intermediate staff working in these sectors to new business areas, it is necessary to train them for new sectors. The report mainly focuses on these two axes and emphasised the role of energy cooperatives in training intermediate staff.
Which areas did you focus on to strengthen the digital transformation of your association with the grant and capacity-building support you received from our foundation?
With this grant support, we primarily focused on creating a network among renewable energy cooperatives. We launched a website, updated data and received trainings to produce content for podcasts to improve our digital capacity. With the mentor support and workshops, we strengthened our institutional capacity by gaining information on digital tools and practical solutions that will provide convenience for us within the organisation.
As a result of these trainings, we can update data and add content to our website, and we can produce, edit, and publish our podcasts. We now use a shared calendar within the organisation, store our passwords digitally, and create visual content using different tools and applications.
While the grant support strengthened the bond between our institution and renewable energy cooperatives, it also digitally strengthened our association.
With our grant support, you established the Energy Cooperatives Network. How did the idea to create this network come about? Can you tell us about the activities you carry out together with the network members?
We could not hold our annual Energy Cooperatives Conference due to the pandemic, which made us realise the communication gap among renewable energy cooperatives in Turkey and people’s limited knowledge about these cooperatives. While we were thinking about what to do, we came across this grant call and decided to gather the cooperatives on one platform, to strengthen their communication and cooperation, and to ensure that people can easily access the resources related to the field. We held meetings about the network and the use of the website at the beginning of the project with the cooperatives included in our network and ensured that the network became widespread. We gathered with cooperatives at the 5th Renewable Energy Cooperatives Conference held in Bursa in December 2021, where some cooperatives gave information about their current status, and shared examples of best practices.
How has the support you received within the scope of the Environmental Sustainability Fund contributed to your association and your work? Do you have a message for our donors who supported the fund?
We established a website for renewable energy cooperatives and started to publish podcasts regularly on this site, and this way, we reached more people. We have improved our in-house skills in digital communication and using digital tools with trainings such as digital content production, digital security, and password storage in the digital environment.
While the grant support strengthened the bond between our institution and renewable energy cooperatives, it also digitally strengthened our association. We thank the Support Foundation for Civil Society, Turkey Mozaik Foundation, EBRD and all the donors who supported the fund, which made it possible for us to implement the project.
Troya operates in Çanakkale to ensure energy efficiency at urban and rural scales, and develop energy democracy and community-based energy production. The association established the Troya Energy Cooperative in 2017 with all women founders, to guide other energy cooperatives with its work and to strengthen the role of women working in the energy sector.