Erdem Yunus Arifoglu, an entrepreneur from Azerbaijan had built a 4.2-hectare geothermal tomato greenhouse for hydroponic production in 2015. However, the greenhouse was not able to access and utilize geothermal resources in the region. As a result, the entrepreneur first applied to the court and then stopped the operations at the greenhouse. 50 greenhouse workers were left jobless consequently.

Erdem Yunus Arifoglu had initially invested around 7 million USD and grew around 1.200 tons of tomatoes in his greenhouses to export them to Russia and European countries. Arifoglu complained about geothermal energy plants and accused them of not complying with the rules and regulations. Arifoglu: “I have found this facility in Germencik in 2015 and we have started production in 2016. One of the main reasons why I have picked this location for this investment is that it is in close proximity to geothermal resources and there are geothermal pipes running right next to my facility. There are 5 geothermal energy plants within 100 – 150 meters of my greenhouse.

"There is also a law passed in 2013 which states that these plants need to re-direct excess geothermal resources to the greenhouses in their proximity. However, we were unable to access and use geothermal energy in our greenhouse. Our plans were to build more greenhouses in the area but now we had to stop our operations. I have applied to the courts and awaiting the results. If the court decides that I will be able to use geothermal sources in winter months, I’ll re-start my operations. However, if I have to use coal for energy in winter then I’m losing money. Right now our greenhouse is empty and waiting for the court’s decision.”

Source: Aydin Hedef