New Energy Paradigm and Renewable Energy: Turkey's Vision

By Saygin, Hasan; Cetin, Fusun | Insight Turkey, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

New Energy Paradigm and Renewable Energy: Turkey's Vision


Saygin, Hasan, Cetin, Fusun, Insight Turkey


The conventional paradigm considers only the magnitude of energy consumed per capita as an indicator of the country's "progress," (1) but it does not take into consideration the social, environmental, and security impacts of energy consumption. (2) With this paradigm based on increased consumption of fossil fuels, (3) the resulting environmental, social and economic costs, are enormous.

Today, the world is facing massive environmental challenges. Global warming and climate change, ozone depletion, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, and air and water pollution are global problems with wide-ranging impacts on human populations. In addition to environmental problems, there are also serious security issues associated with the large-scale use of fossil and nuclear fuels. Tensions arise from depletion of global fossil fuel resources, (4) uncertainties in energy prices and energy availability, (5) geopolitical tension caused by the concentration of oil and gas resources in a few regions of the world, and the risk of nuclear proliferation threatening global security. (6) Political pressures surrounding fossil fuels can lead to unrest, regime changes, and even war.

These situations can lead to extreme social hardships. (7) Therefore, increasing energy security risks are a growing concern for developed and developing countries alike. Energy security has, therefore, returned to the top of the international agenda like in the 1970s (8) and now is considered one of the most important challenges to the world's peace and security.

The conventional energy paradigm is clearly incapable of solving these significant political and social problems. This situation has called for a paradigm shift in energy policy. As a matter of fact, a paradigm shift in the objectives of energy policy is currently taking place--towards security of supply and climate change. (7) Sustainability is one of the key concepts of the new paradigm. Cost-effective, sustainable energy policy should aim to reduce energy use before seeking to meet the remaining demand by the cleanest means possible.

The global trend at the moment is towards the energy strategies built around the following hierarchy in energy options from the most sustainable to the least sustainable: (9)

* Energy conservation: improved energy efficiency and rational use of energy

* Increasing use of renewable sources

* Exploitation of un-sustainable resources using low-carbon technologies

The shift to renewable, energy-efficient and low-carbon technologies driven by energy security and climate change concerns is making progress although at a slower pace than desired. A transition from fossil fuels to a non-carbon-based economy will more likely occur, over the longer-term.

Global Trends in Renewable Energy

Renewable energy, which constitutes one of the three essential pillars of the new energy paradigm, (10) has become a high priority among energy policy strategies on a global scale. In most countries, depending on the ongoing paradigm change, renewable energy policies are evolving rapidly. (11) Many countries are in the process of deregulating and restructuring their electric power industries. The fundamental transition of the world's energy markets has begun. (12)

As illustrated in Table 1 and 2, a number of developed, transitioning countries, and developing countries have already adopted some type of policy to promote renewable power generation. The most common existing policy is the feed-in law (13) (feed-in tariffs), which has been enacted in many countries and regions in recent years. There are many other forms of policy support for renewable power generation, including Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) policies, direct capital investment subsidies or rebates, tax incentives and credits, sales tax and value added tax (VAT) exemptions, direct production payments or tax credits (i.e., per kWh), green certificate trading, net metering, direct public investment or financing, and public competitive bidding for specified quantities of power generation. …

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