The U.S. Department of Energy and Turkey’s Ministry of Energy, with interagency support from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the State Department, developed the Near-Zero Zone (NZZ) — an industrial energy efficiency project at the Ataturk Organized Industrial Zone in Izmir, Turkey. NZZ was designed to reduce Turkey’s dependence on energy imports, bolster energy security, cut carbon emissions, and make industry more profitable, while creating business opportunities for U.S. and Turkish energy efficiency technology and service providers.
The project provided energy assessments to 20 Turkish companies, representing a diverse set of industrial processes, including textiles, metal fabrication, electrical equipment, food, and plastic/rubber. The project began with audits conducted by experts from Oak Ridge National Laboratory to establish baseline energy usage. Following these audits, U.S. energy efficiency companies undertook detailed, company-specific technical assessments that identified energy efficiency opportunities; recommended energy-efficiency upgrades; assessed costs of implementation; and projected expected savings and impact on company profitability.
The results demonstrated the potential to reduce energy consumption by approximately 20 percent with a return on investment in as short as 18 months. Assuming only a 10 percent adoption of energy efficiency measures by companies in all of Turkey’s Organized Industrial Zones, replication of these results could reduce energy usage by approximately 17 billion kWh, equivalent to the annual electricity production of 5.7 coal-fired power plants. Furthermore, natural gas consumption would be reduced by an amount equivalent to 6 percent of Turkey’s annual gas imports, and overall annual energy costs for the industrial sector would be reduced by $1.6 billion. CO2 emissions would be reduced by an estimated 33,394 metric tons.
The project has the potential to accelerate the growth of an energy efficiency market in Turkey and promote industrial energy efficiency across the country. Several NZZ companies have already decided to implement efficiency measures and other industrial zones in Turkey have begun to replicate the project. Ultimately, this project may serve as an inspiring model for industrial energy efficiency in the region and globally.