ACCORDING TO A STATEMENT released by va-tech-hydro, the need to maintain international standards and conditions is a necessity if the company is to pursue the Ilisu hydro power project in Turkey.

Planned by the Turkish government, the project, located on the Tigris river, has been the subject of intense debate due to the possible social, cultural and ecological damage in the area.

An environmental and social study was launched two years ago by the bidder consortium – including VA Tech Hydro – and financial institutions to investigate these problems. The study, made on the basis of guidelines by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Develop-ment, was carried out by an independent international team of experts. It specifies a number of clearly defined standards and measures.

In Spring 2001, this study was completed as an extensive Environ-mental Impact Assessment Report and handed over to the financial institutions by the Turkish customer. The institutions say they will only offer finance if all conditions of the study are met satisfactorily.

‘We feel deeply committed to sustainable technologies and solutions within our group,’ said Georg Antesberger, a member of the VA Tech board. ‘VA Tech has been active in the power plant business in Turkey for many years and we always had very successful co-operation with our customers, which we would like to further develop.

‘The social, cultural and ecological acceptability of our plants is a key factor in all our projects, besides their technical perfection,’ he added. ‘Naturally, we will pursue the Ilisu project only if our customer ensures the conditions made by international financial institutions and their governments will be met.’

However, the length of time being taken to meet these conditions has already led to the withdrawal of one member of the international consortium. UK-based Balfour Beatty pulled out of the project in November 2001, stating that with appropriate solutions to commercial, social and environmental issues still unsecured and no early resolution likely, it believed it was not in the best interests of its stakeholders to pursue the project.