Local community raises concerns around wind energy project in Turkey; incl. company responses
The Goldstandard registered Çeşme Wind Power Project, located on a peninsular close to Izmir in Turkey, was initiated by the Turkish energy company Vega Wind Energy Electricity Generation Inc. (formerly ABK Energy) and supplied with wind turbines by German company Nordex SE. The Turkish company Life Climate and Energy Limited (Life Enerji) provides consultancy services.
According to the local community the project was implemented without adequately consultation of local stakeholders and landowners, and those opposing the project have allegedly faced harassment via local/regional media and courts. The community has filed several (ongoing) complaints against the project including at local and administrative courts as well as the Supreme Court of Turkey, however construction continued. In 2015, the German National Contact Point accepted partial responsibility for an OECD complaint filed against Nordex, following which the company agreed to improve its due diligence process (the case was also covered in this 2017 Germanwatch report). In April 2019, the community also submitted a letter to Goldstandard alleging non-compliance. Goldstandard has openend a formal investigation, which concluded in March 2020. The investigation found non-conformity issues, including that the project failed to inform Gold Standard of ongoing cases proceedings and did not fully comply with the Gold Standard Stakeholder Consultation requirements. The project's registration status has been suspended.
In August 2019, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre reached out to Vega Wind Energy Electricity Generation Inc., Life Enerji and Nordex SE asking them to respond to a summary of the project published on Banktrack's website (also included below), outlining the concerns. Wind Energy Electricity Generation Inc. in its response maintains that all its activities are conducted in compliance with the law and meet human rights and environmental requirements. Their full response, as well as responses from Life Enerji and Nordex SE, are available below.
In September 2019, the community responded to Vega Wind Energy Electricity Generation Inc. via a rejoinder, in which they outline their concerns directly and argue the project is illegal. In their response, Vega Wind Energy Electricity Generation Inc. maintained the project is legal. The community sent another rejoinder in October 2019, but Vega Wind Energy Electricity Generation Inc. did not comment further.
In October 2019, the community also sent a rejoinder to Nordex SE. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre sent Nordex a copy of the letter but did not receive a further response.
In November 2019, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre reached out to banks and project financiers that allegedly provided financial support to the project, namely DZ Bank, KfW and the credit export agency Euler Hermes. DZ Bank declined to comment, citing client confidentiality, KfW said they were unaware of any project financing. Euler Hermes' response is available below.
In May 2021, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre reached out and received an updated response from Euler Hermes, available below. In July, the community responded to Euler Hermes' updated response, also available below. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre shared the letter with Euler Hermes but they declined to comment further.
In October 2021, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre reached out to additional companies, banks and financial institutions added to Banktrack's webpage covering the Çeşme Wind Power project and alleged business involvement. Responses from Allianz, Statkraft and Raiffeisen Bank International are available below. With regards to Yapı Kredi, a Turkish bank allegedly financing the project and owned 20% by UniCredit, UniCredit Group informed us that it is no longer part of the Group, but that UniCredit remains a shareholder.