On November 6, 2020 the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning (the “Ministry”) has introduced amendments to the Environmental Permit and License Regulation (the “Regulation”) to include geothermal power plants (“GPPs”) with an installed capacity of 5MW or more in Annex 2 of the Regulation. Annex 2 of the Regulation provides for a list of facilities that are classified as “Environmentally Pollutant Enterprises” (Çevreye Kirletici Etkisi Olan İşletmeler). The requirements under the Regulation will become applicable to GPPs within the scope after June 30, 2021.
As a result of the new classification, GPPs with an installed capacity of 5MW or more will first need to obtain a temporary operation certificate (geçici faaliyet belgesi) to start their operations. The temporary operation certificate, which is issued for a one-year period, then needs to be replaced by an “environmental permit” or “environmental permit and license” depending on the type of emissions in the power plant.
The environmental permits are issued for a five-year period and can be renewed for further five-year periods after the expiry of the initial term. The holders of environmental permits and licenses are required to employ an environmental compliance officer or establish an environmental compliance department and the operations of GPPs within the scope will become subject to a closer supervision by the Ministry.
If, however, the operations of a GPP do not result in any air emission or wastewater discharge at any stage, that GPP may request exemption from the licensing regime. Granting of exemptions is subject to the investigation of the local offices of the Ministry.