Helios Energy was launched in 2022 by Turkey’s Doguhan Enerji to provide services to the European renewables market. Helios currently has operations in Romania and Hungary. Batuhan Ildas is Managing Partner at Doguhan Enerji.
Mr. Ildas, in 2022 Helios Energy launched the biggest solar power plant in Romania and also announced two other projects in the country. Can you tell us a bit more about these projects and what is their current status?
Our European journey kicked off when we received an invitation to bid on a solar project in Romania from one of our clients. In Turkey, our primary focus is providing EPC services for wind projects. The Rateşti project, boasting a whopping 155 MW capacity, marked our first foray into the world of solar projects in Romania, and it was an honour to earn our client's trust.
Our responsibility in this venture centred on the mechanical and electrical installation of the PV components. Our Project Management Team meticulously analysed the project, overseeing every detail closely. We put in an extraordinary amount of effort and worked with utmost precision, ultimately completing our scope ahead of schedule. This outstanding accomplishment played a pivotal role in securing two more projects down the line.
Similar to Rateşti, the Parau and Oradea projects, totalling 178 MW in capacity, were contracted for mechanical and electrical installation during the PV phase. We currently have nearly 200 employees dedicated to managing these operations. As of now, we are nearing the completion of the module installation stage for both projects, with a target delivery date to our client by the end of 2023. Without a doubt, we can confidently say that we are well on track to meet our goals.
Do you plan other facilities in the country?
So far, we have submitted bids for solar and wind projects totalling over 1,000 MW in Romania. We have already secured some of these projects, and they are in our pipeline for the current and upcoming year. Among these projects, we have several solar initiatives totalling 110 MW for one of our valued customers. These projects are scheduled to commence by the end of 2023. Additionally, we have plans to kick off operations for another 56 MW solar project for one of our current customers no later than the beginning of the first quarter of 2024. The scope of services for all these projects will be quite similar to the ones we are currently executing.
Furthermore, we have recently signed a comprehensive EPC contract with a new customer for a rooftop-mounted solar project at their factory in Ploiesti. Our teams will begin working on this project by the end of September 2023.
Lastly, we have reached a significant agreement for a 30 MW wind project, slated to start in the second quarter of 2024. There are more projects in the pipeline for 2024, and we are in the final stages of negotiations. We will announce these projects once they are formally contracted.
What attracted you to Southeast Europe and Romania in the first place, what are the advantages of this market?
For decades, the energy deficit has been a topic of paramount importance, known to all. It is clear that relying on fossil energy sources is not a viable option to bridge this gap. Governments have been diligently exploring alternatives, with green energy sources emerging as the most promising solution. Economic plans for the future have been pivoting around green energy policies for years. The 2022 energy crisis between Russia and Europe, driven by the conflict in Ukraine, underscored the critical significance of green energy sources.
When it comes to infrastructure and superstructure investments, Southeast Europe stands out as the region in dire need of development compared to other parts of Europe. The demand for increased energy supply is particularly pronounced here. As countries in the region develop, their energy needs grow in tandem. The progress of infrastructure, superstructure, and energy investments are inherently intertwined. To be honest, this golden opportunity caught our attention and drew us toward these markets.
As Doguhan Energy, we had already garnered extensive experience in the wind industry within the Turkish market, covering the full range of services. Our ambition was to expand our operations into Europe and the MENA region, and we had been actively exploring various markets and bidding on projects. Southeast Europe came under our radar, especially since many Turkish investors were actively involved in projects in this region. Despite bidding on numerous projects in the area, nothing substantial materialised. As mentioned earlier, the invitation from our client for the Rateşti solar project served as the catalyst for our entry into the Romanian market. Once we entered the market, we had the chance to witness the vast potential for expanding our operations.
What about expanding further to other markets in Europe, is that on the cards?
Our entry into the Hungarian market marked the initial step in our expansion plans, and it was backed by a substantial project from another valued customer. However, we certainly won't be stopping at Hungary, as we have a strong determination to broaden our presence across Europe. As a result, we currently have several expansion plans under discussion. Our next destination within Europe, in the near future, will likely be Poland. Subsequently, we anticipate entering markets in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic as we continue to strengthen our positions in Romania and Hungary.
Maintaining our commitment to unwavering quality is a top priority for us as we expand into new territories. We are meticulously cautious in our decision-making process, ensuring that we do not compromise on quality or timely delivery. These principles of quality and punctuality have always been at the forefront of our company philosophy. Our approach has consistently revolved around making steady progress towards our sustainable growth objectives.