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09/25/2018

Turkey’s Renewable Energy Potential

Turkey’s Renewable Energy Potential

As a country with a strong dependence on oil and gas imports, Turkey is pursuing a developmental strategy for domestic resources which includes a renewable energy agenda alongside increases in nuclear and coal facilities. Turkey’s growing energy demand make a reliable supply of multiple resource streams a necessity. Turkey holds great potential for renewable energy and is giving priority to developing a broader contribution of renewables to the national energy basket. In 2017, Turkey took significant steps towards developing renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power. According to Turkey’s National Energy Plan, Turkey must ensure that 30% of its electricity is sourced from renewable energy sources. It is no coincidence that renewables may also provide the answer to lessening Turkey’s dependency on foreign resources.

One of the most important pillars of the “National Energy and Mine Policy,” launched by the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, is boosting access to renewable energy sources. Electricity generation from water, groundwater, wind, solar, and biological waste reached 32% in the last quarter of 2017, boldly expanding beyond the 2023 target of 30%. In the last 10 years, 53% of investments in power generation facilities have been made in renewable energies. Electricity production, which was 129.4 billion kWh in 2002, reached 219.6 billion kWh in the third quarter of 2017. In Turkey, the average amount of annual sunshine totals around 2750 hours… with this in mind, it is evident that solar energy could be an extremely productive resource to invest in.

According to General Director of Renewable Energy of Minister on Energy and Natural

Resource, Oğuz Can, Turkey’s energy decision-makers believe that, while the 5 thousand megawatts target for the 2023 on solar and 20 thousand megawatts on wind goal is an ambitious target, it is more than possible for Turkey to achieve.

In the latest negotiations in the wind energy sector, the energy tariff was set at 3.48 cents / kilowatt-hour. This is the lowest price for wind energy among countries like Morocco, Peru, Mexico and Egypt, which have roughly the same levels of renewable energy production. This also marks a significant reduction compared to the previous price of 10.3 cents / kilowatt-hour, indicating significant savings in energy costs, which also indicates the capacity and competitiveness of the Turkish wind energy sector, which is set to benefit from further investment.

Employment opportunities in Renewable

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) 2018 Report on renewable Energy and Employment, employment in the renewable energy sector has increased in line with unemployment. Despite some constraints on production, wind energy provides a significant advantage for the countries’ energy supply security and contributes to the reduction of environmental damage. Wind energy is one of the least harmful energy sources of energy which has yet been developed, as well as an important source of employment. By the end of 2017, the clean energy sector in Turkey will employ 84 400 people: 33 400 in the solar energy sector, 16 600 in wind energy, and 14 200 people in related work.

Investment incentives

In 2012, the Turkish government announced plans to provide incentives for investment in the development of renewable energy sources, such as customs duties on imported goods. Obtaining a guaranteed power supply at low costs is another benefit to investing in this sector. Investing $610 million in financial facilities toward renewable energy companies is another part of Turkey’s plans to continue to play a leading role in renewable energy in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Turkish Ministry of Energy has been asked by the Norwegian DNV GL to launch a feasibility study on solar energy and energy storage in the country. The goal of this study is to research what combinations of energy storage and solar energy is possible, the best practices will be presented to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey to be included in the ministries’ coming funding bid. The project is part of Turkey’s strategic plan to achieve a national target of 30% renewable energy production by 2030. The Ministry of Energy announced in late February that it will hold the bid for renewable energy projects this summer.

With this new bidding, the government plans to increase the capacity of the country’s solar power plants by 5% by the year 2023.

The country has long been seeking to link the natural gas producing countries in the Middle East and European import countries. The plan will make Turkey competitive with top regional producers by creating a new and independent source of energy while increasing energy security in the region, especially in southeastern Europe. If Turkey can develop its own renewable sources of finance through technological and financial challenges, it will be able to afford diversity, independence and sustainability in the energy sector.

Increased energy consumption usually brings with it significant environmental problems. Emissions from common energy sources are contributing to air, water, and soil pollution. Human energy consumption threatens nature and biological diversity. The only solution to the problem is the use of renewable energy sources. As in many developing countries, in Turkey, there is an effective and economical way to combat global climate problem; increase energy efficiency, reduce energy intensity and provide energy savings. When increasing energy efficiency, the effect on carbon intensity should be determined and plans and applications should be crafted accordingly.

Renewable energy could help Turkey supply the majority of its electricity demand and decrease dependency on foreign resources. Turkey is affected significantly by climate change, and therefore public and private organizations in this field ought to be put under intense pressure to expand the renewable sector. Turkey has a good investment climate, and will be able to attract foreign technology and capital, providing benefits in terms of energy, the environment and employment.

Omid Shokri Kalehsar
Senior energy security analyst, PhD Candidate in International Relations. His primary research interest is in the area of energy diplomacy, geopolitics of energy, Iran–Russia relations and Iran-Turkey relations. Follow him at @ushukrik / uskenergy.com (USA)