‘Clean energy can be vital to Türkiye’s energy dependence’

News About Turkey - NAT
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A recent study by the Ember think-tank presents various electricity pathways to reduce Türkiye’s reliance on imported fossil fuels from 50 percent of the total power generation in 2021 to 25 percent by 2030.

When the country significantly increases its wind and solar power, Türkiye’s 2053 net zero emission target is also in reach.

The war in Ukraine, rising energy prices, and Russia’s ‘power play’ over energy exports exemplify energy supplies’ critical and controversial place in global politics. Gas and oil pipelines create a complex dependency between the producing and consuming nations.

This also counts for Türkiye, where energy dependency is regarded as an Achilles heel of its economy. It has only a limited amount of domestic fossil fuels and other forms of energy production are hardly developed.

For example, where many European countries have nuclear power plants, Türkiye is now building its first one with Russia’s state-owned company Atomstroyexport. The controversial Akkuyu Nuclear Powerplant in the Southern Mersin Province is expected to produce around 10 percent of Türkiye’s electricity.

Fossil fuel imports

Of the 48.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas Türkiye consumed in 2021, 33.6 percent came from Russia, 24 percent from Azerbaijan, and Iran accounted for 11.1 percent. Türkiye also gets Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Nigeria and Algeria. The import of these fossil fuels contributes to the country’s large trade deficit.

Therefore, Türkiye tries to solve this foreign dependency through hydrocarbon exploration in the surroundings, which lead to the discovery of gas in the Black Sea, with an estimated value of 60-70 billion dollars in 2020. These exploratory drillings are not without controversy, with the EU sanctioning Türkiye over unauthorized drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2021.

Clean energy

Clean energy is a possible solution to Türkiye’s foreign energy dependence, simultaneously ensuring the country’s decarbonization. On October 6, 2021, before the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, the government signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which means that Türkiye needs to reach zero emissions by 2053.

Reducing fossil fuel consumption and developing renewable energy sources is vital if the country wants to meet its climate target. As of January 2021, wind generators produce 10 percent of the total electricity output.

According to Ember, if Türkiye wants to halve its fossil fuel imports, wind power capacity needs to triple every year, from 11.1GW in 2022 to 30 GW in 2030. The real improvement has to be in solar energy. Türkiye has a high average of 7.5 hours of sunshine daily but lags behind in harvesting this power.

The country also needs to grow its solar capacity by 4GW per year and generates 40GW by 2030 compared to 8.8GW in 2022. This combination of solar and wind power generation would drop the share of power generation from fossil fuels from 50 to 24 percent.

Ufuk Alparslan, Regional Leader in charge of Türkiye, Ukraine and the Western Balkans, stressed the crises foreign dependency on energy can cause: “The developments in the world in recent months show the risk and unreliability when you are dependent on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.

“The opposite solution is wind and sun, which are cheap and clean energy sources. Wind and sun will play a leading role in ensuring the independence of energy resources in countries like Türkiye with limited energy resources in the coming years.” (WM/VK)


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