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Turkey: Betting on Wind Power, One Village at a Time

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Sitting at the village center, residents discuss the problems with Akbıyık's water pump.

Akbıyık, a village with 365 residents in Turkey’s western Bursa province, has a head start on the country’s plans to increase domestic energy production. The reason is simple -- it has a wind turbine and villagers eager to capitalize on a government push toward alternative energies.

Four years ago, Akbıyık villagers stopped paying the electricity bill for a pump that brought water from deep underground to a reservoir they’d built to store water for their homes and fields. The price was exorbitant, they say. With the pump shut off, Akbıyık residents -- mostly women -- for a year instead carried water home daily from village fountains connected to underground pools. Melted snow water and rain filled the reservoir for their fields, but the water was not enough. Then, Mustafa Çiçek, Akbıyık’s mukhtar or village boss, thought of the wind.

“Mustafa [Çiçek] contacted us,” said Ali Colak, a project manager at Soyut Construction and Engineering, an Ankara-based company that has been producing wind turbines since 2000. “He said, ‘We need an electrical source. We are interested in wind, maybe solar.’”

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Justin Vela is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.

Turkey: Betting on Wind Power, One Village at a Time

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