Renewable energy in Turkey

Summary

Although there are plenty of renewable resources for energy in Turkey,[2] only hydropower has been much developed, averaging about a fifth of national electricity supply.[3] However, because this is vulnerable to droughts, less electricity than usual is from hydro in those recent years,[4] compared to around a third in a wet year.[5] Over half of capacity is renewables and it is estimated that over half of generation could be from renewables by 2026[6] but Turkey has invested less in solar and wind power than similar Mediterranean countries.[4] Turkey needs a renewable energy plan beyond 2023 which includes transport, industry, heating and cooling as well as electricity generation.[3] Turkey is a net exporter of wind power equipment but a net importer of solar power equipment.[7]

Wind turbines on Gökçeada Island, Çanakkale Province
Renewables (top) are still dwarfed by gas, oil and coal.[1]
Although wind and solar are increasing coal is only slowly declining. Gas generation makes up for hydropower during drought years

Hydroelectricity in Turkey is the largest renewable source of electricity and in 2018 generated 20% of electricity with other renewables at 12%.[8] However total non-hydro overtook hydro in 2021.[9]

Geothermal power in Turkey is used mainly for heating. According to one study by massively increasing production of Turkey's solar power in the south and Turkey's wind power in the west the country's entire energy demand could be met from renewable sources.[10] Others say that nuclear power will keep the grid stable from fluctuations in variable renewable energy.[11] And others that more geothermal baseload capacity should be added.[12] A green tariff has been offered since 2021.[13] According to a 2022 report from thinktank Ember, Turkey needs to expand renewables at least twice as fast, to decarbonize the electricity sector and lower import bills.[14] Unlicensed generators must apply to distribution companies or industrial park license holders in their region for approval.[15] A 2022 study by Shura says that renewables could generate 70% of electricity by 2030, with coal reduced to 5%.[16]: 13  Many new 400kV transmission lines are planned to be built by 2030.[16]: 15  Shura simultation of typical spring 2030 generation shows that wind and nuclear could provide baseload, and solar much of daytime demand, reserving dammed hydro for evening flexibility.[16]: 17 

Solar powerEdit

The climate of Turkey is very suitable for solar energy as solar potential is very high in Turkey, especially in the South Eastern Anatolia and Mediterranean regions.[17] It is a growing part of renewable energy in the country, with almost 8 gigawatts (GW) of solar panels generating about 4% of the country's electricity. But although similarly sunny, by 2021 Turkey had only installed half as much solar power as Spain.[18]: 49  Production could increase far more quickly if subsidies for coal were abolished[19]: 36  and the auction system was improved.[20] Every gigawatt of solar power installed would save over US$100 million on gas import costs.[21]
 
Greenway in Mersin is the only solar power tower in the country
Peak daily generation in 2020 was over 1 TWh in September.[22] Tenders for 1.2 GW of new solar power are due end May 2022.[23] Building new solar and wind power in Turkey is cheaper than running the existing coal plants which depend on imported coal.[24] Modelling by Carbon Tracker indicates that new solar power will become cheaper than all existing coal plants by 2023.[25][26] However, think tank Ember has listed several obstacles to building utility scale solar plants: a lack of new capacity for solar power at transformers, a 50 MW cap for any single solar power plant's installed capacity, and large consumers being unable to sign long term power purchase agreements for new solar installations.[24]

Wind powerEdit

 
Average annual wind speeds at 50 m above ground

Wind power generates about 10% of Turkey's electricity, mainly in the west in the Aegean and Marmara regions, and is gradually becoming a larger share of renewable energy in the country. As of 2022 Turkey has 11 gigawatts (GW) of wind turbines.[27] The Energy Ministry plans to have another 10GW installed in the 2020s,[28] but the International Energy Agency says that is not enough,[29] and there is techno-economic potential for much more.[29]

The state-owned Electricity Generation Company (EÜAŞ) has about 20% of the market,[30] and there are many private companies.[27] The highest ever daily share of wind was 25%, in 2022.[31]

Building new wind and solar power in Turkey is cheaper than running existing coal plants which depend on imported coal.[32] And according to modelling by Carbon Tracker new wind will be cheaper than all existing coal plants by 2027.[33][34]

BioenergyEdit

Turkey intends to increase production of bioenergy.[35] Biomass is part of renewable energy in Turkey as the biomass economical potential of Turkey is 8.6 mtoe/year.[36] Arable crops in Central Anatolia and the Mediterranean have the most potential for electricity,[37] and in 2021 biomass generated 7.6 TWh, which was 2.3% of the nation's electricity, from over 2GW capacity.[38] Tupraş intends to make sustainable aviation fuel.[39]

HydroelectricityEdit

 
Atatürk Dam, part of the Southeastern Anatolia Project,is the largest in the country.

Hydroelectricity is a major source of electricity in Turkey. The main river basins are the Euphrates and the Tigris. Many dams have been built and hydroelectricity makes up about 30% of the country's electricity generating capacity. Generation can vary greatly from one year to the next depending on rainfall.[a] In good years, substantial amounts of hydroelectric power can be generated due to Turkey's mountainous landscape and abundance of rivers. Government policies have generally supported dam construction. Some dams are controversial with neighbouring countries, while others face concerns about damage to the environment and wildlife of Turkey.[41]

56 TWh of hydroelectricity was generated in 2021, which was 17% of Turkey's total electricity,[42] from 31 GW of capacity.[43] According to analysts at S&P Global, when there is drought in Turkey during the peak electricity demand month of August, the aim of the State Hydraulic Works to conserve water for irrigation can conflict with the Turkish Electricity Transmission Corporation's goal of generating electricity.[44] Although Turkey's energy strategy may change in the future due to climate change causing more frequent droughts,[45] hydropower is predicted to remain important for load balancing of solar and wind power.[46]: 72  Converting existing dams to pumped storage has been suggested as more suitable than building new pumped storage.[47]

 
The curved arch design of Oymapınar Dam in Antalya is typical for narrow rocky gorges.

Geothermal power in TurkeyEdit

 
Geothermal power off the road to Ephesus

There is almost 2 gigawatts of electrical geothermal power in Turkey. Geothermal is a significant part of renewable energy in Turkey and is also used for heating. Geothermal power in Turkey began in the 1970s in a prototype plant following systematic exploration of geothermal fields. In the 1980s the pilot facility became the first power plant. The small-sized geothermal power plant was expanded to the country's biggest one in 2013. Over 60 power plants operate in Turkey as of 2020,[48] with two-thirds capacity binary and one-third flash,[49][50] and potential for more.[51] As well as the electricity sector in Turkey, geothermal heat is used directly. At the end of 2021 Turkey had 1.7 GW installed capacity, the fourth largest in the world after the United States, Indonesia and the Philippines:[52] and for heat is second only to China.[53] Western Anatolia is especially resource rich.[54]

Although there is almost 2 GW of geothermal and potential for 5 GW total,[54] including enhanced geothermal systems,[55] carbon dioxide emissions can be high especially for new plants: to prevent this the fluid is sometimes completely reinjected.[56]

Hybrid projectsEdit

A different power source can be added up to 15% capacity under the same licence provided max generation is not exceeded (but do not receive USD subsidy).[57]

Storage and integrationEdit

There is a virtual power plant which includes geothermal, wind, solar and hydro.[58] Increasing Turkey's proportion of electric cars in use to 10% by 2030 would help integrate variable electricity.[59]

EconomicsEdit

As of 2022 feed-in-tariffs in lira per kWh are: wind and solar 0.32, hydro 0.4, geothermal 0.54, and various rates for different types of biomass: for all these there is also a bonus of 0.08 per kWh if at least 55% local components are used.[60][15] Tariffs will apply for 10 years and the local bonus for 5 years.[60] There is 30% foreign currency linkage and power can be sold on the market.[57]

There are benefits in employment, industrial production, and balance of trade.[61] In 2021 renewables expanded faster than the EU average but slower than the world average.[62]

If more renewable energy is generated it may be possible to export green hydrogen to the EU.[11] Eser Ozdil at the Atlantic Council said in 2022 that interconnectors with the EU need to be greatly increased, and suggested joint electricity projects with Balkan companies.[11]

According to Mondaq the Energy Market Law change in 2022 means that "thermal power plants, natural gas cycle power plants, and incumbent supply companies will be subsidized with the income of the facilities generating electricity from renewable energy sources that are not within the scope of YEKDEM" but they speculate that the law change might be unconstitutional and also contradict the Paris Agreement.[63]

Increasing export of electricity to the EU has been suggested but analyst Kadri Tastan says that depends on "reliable and solid political relations between the two and an ambitious environmental policy in Turkey".[64] Using renewable electricity to produce green hydrogen for export has also been suggested, but would require substantial investment.[64] However Tastan expects the economy to be the political priority up to the 2023 election, not decarbonization.[64]

Health benefitsEdit

 
Renewable energy reduces health costs in Turkey

Possible health benefits of expanding renewable energy more quickly have been estimated at US$800 million a year.[61]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ For example, drought in 2020 caused a generation drop of over 10% compared to the previous year.[40]

ReferencesEdit

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SourcesEdit

  • Cobenefits Policy Report: Unlocking the co-benefits of decarbonising Turkey’s power sector (Report). IASS IPC/UfU. December 2020.

External linksEdit

  • Çevreci Enerji Derneği (Environmental energy society - in Turkish)

  Media related to Renewable energy in Turkey at Wikimedia Commons