Turkey's Energy Policy, Regional Role and Future Energy Vision

By Yildiz, Taner | Insight Turkey, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

Turkey's Energy Policy, Regional Role and Future Energy Vision


Yildiz, Taner, Insight Turkey


Energy has a pivotal role in every society, touching upon all aspects of life and facilitating a sustainable economic and social development, which in turn enhance the welfare of people and consolidate the country's standing in the world. The new concepts of the world energy require a shift of position in mind and strategic orientation. We are at the edge of a new energy revolution, driven by the world's need for affordable energy and by the real threat of climate change. The coming decades are likely to bring about huge changes in the world's energy system. Future energy policies will be driven by the triple challenges of achieving substantial reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases, while ensuring a secure supply of energy, all at a reasonable cost.

Increasing Turkish economy's energy efficiency is an absolute necessity. Also, we must make a concerted effort to move rapidly towards more diverse and sustainable sources of energy. This move depends on the aggressive development and deployment of more sustainable energy resources and alternative fuels.

We are just on the threshold of a low carbon age. Looking towards this new age, we must begin by transforming the way we run our homes and our lifestyles. I want to recall Mehmet Ogutcu's remarks: "The first step in fulfilling the green home dream is to bear in mind the four Rs: recycling, reusing items in other ways instead of discarding them, restoring instead of buying new and reducing waste".

Second, renewable energy and smart grids will play key roles to achieve substantial emission reductions, to recover from the global crisis via the creation of millions of clean energy jobs, and to attain sustainable growth. Given the global magnitude that energy represents for our future, Europe has been targeting a potential increase of 20% to 30% of renewables in its energy mix.

Last year, renewable assets generated around 20% of primary electricity in Turkey. According to Eurostat, the EU generated 17% of primary electricity through renewable resources. And again, according to Eurostat, between 2004 and 2009, Turkey had the highest clean energy investment growth rate in the G-20. Turkey's 2009 investments of $1.6 billion earned it the 12th place in the G-20, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Turkey is rich in renewable resources. For example, in geothermal resources, Turkey ranks first in Europe and seventh in the world. As for wind energy, there has been a rapid increase in installed capacity since 2002. It went from 20 MW 8 years ago to 1,000 MW today. This is likely to show a continued rapid and sharp increase. With a 132% increase from 2008 to 2009 in installed wind capacity, Turkey ranked second after Mexico, according to the World Wind Industry Association. For solar energy potential, there are impressive similarities between Turkey, Spain and places like Las Vegas (Nevada), Denver (Colorado), and Sacramento (California) in corresponding solar range. All have more or less the same incoming solar radiation. Turkey has a minimum of 248 TWh per year of solar electricity potential which corresponds to 124 times of Turkey's electricity demand of 2009.

We have published our ambitious Strategic Plan for the period 2010-2014. The main target is increasing the share of renewable resources in 2023 to at least 30%. Other targets include generating at least 10.000 MW installed capacity for wind, 300 MWe installed capacity for geothermal, and an additional installed capacity of 5.000 MW for small hydro power.

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Also, an improvement of 10% in energy intensity will be achieved by 2015. Demand side energy efficiency investments create 3 to 4 times more jobs than new energy supply investments. Energy efficiency is also vital because of its cost effectiveness. In fact, every $1 invested in more efficient electrical equipment renders unnecessary $3.5 in energy supply investment. An average family can easily and needlessly consume twice more energy than their neighbour. …

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