Alternatives to coal in Turkey

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Turkey and coal.


Partly by taking advantage of Turkey's enormous solar energy potential all coal plants could be shutdown by 2050.[1] This would increase employment and be cheaper in the long-term.[2] However at present the cost of capital is slowing expansion of renewables such as solar and wind.[3]

Government Policy and electricity demand forecasts

Electricity consumption in 2016 was 280TWh and the Energy Ministry forecasts continued growth of 5% annually.[4] Other forecasts are that; depending on the growth rates of population, GDP, imports and exports; electricity demand could double by 2030 or only increase slightly.[5]

Currently seasonal demand peaks around 50GW in the hottest months of July and August; one forecast for 2026 estimates that this peak will be between 60GW and 80GW.[6]

In 2017 Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that Turkey has prepared a road map to fight climate change, setting goals for 2030. and that 45 percent of Turkey's energy could be produced from renewable sources.[7]

Energy Efficiency

Turkey is aiming for a 14 percent reduction in primary energy consumption by 2023.[8]

Demand Management and Real time pricing

The smart-grid sector in Turkey often faces some of the following challenges: limited budget allowed by EMRA, lack of standards, ownership of meters belongs to customers thus limiting the activities of distribution companies.[9]

Variable Renewable Energy Sources

Variable renewable energy (VRE) sources in Turkey which could be greatly increased include solar and wind. Solar energy is widely used for domestic water heating. In 2016 the average hourly market clearing price of electricity was highest (over 160TL/MWh) between 9 a.m. and 4 pm.[10] August peak demand has grown strongly with high electricity demand for air conditioning,[11] which is expected to increase in line with the country’s economic and population growth.[12] Therefore solar power can substantially reduce the amount of highly priced peak electricity that transmission companies need to buy, reducing the overall cost.[13]

Solar Photovoltaic (PV)

Turkey could generate 20% of its total electricity from wind and solar by 2026 with no extra transmission costs, and 30% with a moderate increase of investment in the transmission grid.[14] Eventually solar PV, with its associated batteries, could supply up to half the country's electricity.[15].

4GW of solar PV is currently installed[16] which supplies 1% of Turkey's electricity[17], and tenders for about 1GW per year are planned.[18] Two companies manufacture silicon solar photovoltaic modules[19] and perovskite may follow.[20]

Stand alone PV is most advantageous in the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Eastern Anatolian regions, especially for summer electricity load.[21] However solar power is more expensive in Turkey than many other countries due to taxes on panel imports, and administrative procedures for home installations.[22] The 1GW solar facility at Karapınar costs $0.07 per kilowatt-hour, which includes local component production and employment[23]; and getting connected to the grid can be difficult.[24]

Rooftop PV net metering

Owners of PV systems between 3kW and 10kW will be able to sell excess power to the grid under net metering, and will be exempt from the normal 5% tax on such income.[25]

Installation costs

In 2017 to install each megawatt (MW) capacity for lignite coal-fired power plants cost $1.7 million, imported coal $1.15 million and solar $1 million.[26]


Potential onshore wind energy is estimated at 48GW[27], and offshore at 32GW.[28] Most onshore and offshore potential is in the west, as is most electricity demand, thus investment in windpower may reduce investment required in the transmission network.[6] Installed capacity at end 2017 was about 7GW which supplied 6% of Turkey's electrcity.[29]. Capacity is being expanded and turbines will be locally manufactured, aiming for a national target of 20GW by 2023. In 2017 the wind industry asked the government for more transparency in the auction system and a one-stop shop to simplify permitting and licensing.[30]

Energy Storage

Storage can provide additional flexibility which would otherwise be provided by gas-fired power plants.[31] In addition to the limited capacity, short-term (up to about 2 hours), but quick reacting battery storage which is installed together with utility scale solar PV;[32] excess production from VRE sources such as wind or solar could also be used to desalinate water.[1] For the longer term the role of hydrogen is being researched in Turkey.[33]

Grid flexibility

Interconnectors with the EU are synchronized but amount to less than one GW, and there are unsynchronized interconnectors with Syria, Iran, Iraq and Georgia.[34] It has been suggested that an interconnector with Cyprus would both enable Turkey to import Cypriot wind energy, and also synchronize the Cypriot grid with Europe via Turkey.[35]

Dispatchable Energy Sources

As less than 10% of Turkey's electricity is currently supplied by wind [36], and air conditioners tend to be used most when the sun is shining or has just set, it may be some years before the country reaches "phase 3" or "phase 4" (IEA terminology) of VRE integration; so extra dispatchable energy sources may not be required in the short term.[37] Geothermal power cannot yet be relied upon as its carbon dioxide emissions are still being investigated. However existing dispatchable hydro and gas-fired power stations already provide much of the countries' electricity.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)

In Turkey CSP could be used more for combined heat and power or to meet evening peak demand[38] and supply power overnight but there are no plans yet to increase CSP beyond the existing 5MW Greenway Mersin Solar Tower.


Turkey has 27GW hydropower capacity, which generated about 20% of its electricity in 2017.[39]. Most hydro capacity is behind dams rather than run-of-river.[40] Being more flexible than its coal-fired plants, Turkey's dams are used to provide dispatchable peak power,[41] that is flow can be quickly increased or decreased to cope with varying electricity demand or to complement supply from variable renewable energy sources such as wind or solar. Output from existing hydroelectric power plants may be sufficient to satisfy seasonal energy storage needs;[42] but perhaps not in the long-term, due to ecological needs and drought.[43]

The government plans to add 10GW of hydropower capacity.[44][45] In the long term the amount of hydroelectricity generated per year might not increase significantly as droughts are already occurring, possibly due to global warming.[11] Big new dams are very controversial and may damage the environment[46] and relations with downstream countries. Opinions on small hydro plants are mixed: one study concludes that they are environmentally friendly and that more could be constructed in rural areas[47], mainly in the east. But another study concludes that the planning of new small hydro plants must be improved if they are to be environmentally friendly and locally accepted.[48] Pumped storage being considered for Gökçekaya hydropower plant in Northwest Anatolia might reduce the need for additional transmission infrastructure.[49]


Although technically somewhat dispatchable[50] it may not be economical to reduce the power output of the nuclear plants planned and under construction.

A 4.8GW nuclear plant is under construction at Akkuyu and scheduled to be operational in 2026. A feasibility study is being conducted for a 4.6GW load following plant at Sinop and there are plans for a plant at İğneada, both to be operational in 2030: and nuclear is expected to generate 15% of Turkey's electricity.[51] Euratom could cooperate.[3] Turkey is predicted to become a net exporter of electricity to the EU,[52] so if Turkey still has no carbon price by that time nuclear could avoid potential EU carbon tariffs.[53]

Combined heat and power (CHP)

There is a small concentrated solar power (CSP) tower in southern Turkey. Steam from solar Fresnel lenses is being tested in other countries so its useful locations are as yet unknown. Use of natural gas might be too expensive and against the national energy policy favoring local fuels.

Biomass could be used more for combined heat and power.[54] Currently biogas in Turkey is used in power plants at the municipal solid waste sites where it is captured, rather than some of it being upgraded to biomethane and transported as in many other European countries. Agricultural waste could also produce biogas.[55] The economics of biomethane depend on local demand at biogas sites for heat and/or power, the price of natural gas and the carbon price (there is no national carbon price in Turkey at present).

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Kilickaplan, Anil & Bogdanov, Dmitrii & Peker, Bülent & Caldera, Upeksha & Aghahosseini, Arman & Breyer, Christian.", "An energy transition pathway for Turkey to achieve 100% renewable energy powered electricity, desalination and non-energetic industrial gas demand sectors by 2050," Researchgate, 2017.
  2. Teske (2015), ch. 6
  3. 3.0 3.1 Simone Tagliapietra and Georg Zachmann, A new strategy for European Union-Turkey energy cooperation, Bruegel, October 2017.
  4. "Electricity," Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, accessed June 2018
  5. The estimation of the electricity energy demand using particle swarm optimization algorithm: A case study of Turkey, ScienceDirect, December 2016
  7. "Turkey prepares road map for climate policy", Hürriyet, Dec 21, 2017.
  8. "EBRD welcomes Turkey's National Energy Efficiency Plan", Anadolu Ajans, Jan 12, 2018.
  9. 2016 Top Markets Report Smart Grid Country Case Study, US Dept. of Commerce
  10. "2016 Electricity Market Report," EPİAŞ
  11. 11.0 11.1 Energy Policy of Turkey 2016 review, IEA
  12. "Mitsubishi Electric opens new factory in Turkey," Hürriyet Daily News,12 Dec 2017
  13. "Impact of Vertical Integration on Electricity Prices in Turkey," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy,2017 Vol 7 Issue 3
  14. Godron (2018), p6
  15. Sivaram (2018), p. 237
  16. "Turkey added 1.17 GW of solar in December alone," pv magazine, 22 Jan. 2018.
  17. "Solar," Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, accessed March 2018
  18. "Turkey to hold 20,000-megawatt wind and solar tenders," Anadolu Agency, 17 April 2018
  19. Turkey’s Suoz Energy plans vertically integrated module production, pv magazine, 7 June 2018
  20. [ "Greatcell Solar Meetings with the Turkish Government"], MARCH 2018 AURORA NEWSLETTER
  21. "Onat, Nevzat", "Comparison of Turkey’s Geographical Regions in terms of Stand-Alone PV System Design and Cost Parameters," International Journal of Photoenergy, 2017.
  22. "Turkey: Future Of Solar Energy – OpEd," Eurasia Review, Dec. 2017.
  23. Turkey launches first solar cell integrated factory, Anadolu Agency, Dec 21, 2017.
  24. "Turkey registers 522 MW of new unlicensed PV capacity in first two months of 2018," pv magazine, 8 March 2018.
  25. "Turkey introduces tax exemption for solar up to 10 kW," pv magazine, 18 May 2018
  26. "Turkey invested $6.2B in power generation in 2017," Daily Sabah, 8 Mar. 2018.
  27. "Wind," Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, accessed March 2018
  28. Turkey's offshore wind potential looks promising, Anadolu Agency, 26 Feb 2018.
  29. "Wind," Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
  30. Turkish wind power ready to take off, Wind Europe, 3 November 2017.
  31. Godron (2018), p74
  32. Turkey plans to hold new big tenders for wind, solar plants by summer 2018: Minister, Hürriyet Daily News, 22 Feb 2018.
  33. NATIONAL HYDROGEN ASSOCIATION: Turkey, accessed May 2018.
  34. Godron (2018), pages 23,96
  35. "Energy Cooperation Should Be a Catalyst for Cyprus Peace Talks", Atlantic Council, Jan 19, 2018.
  36. "2,130 MW wind power plants to be established in 32 locations across Turkey," Daily Sabah, 25 Dec. 2017.
  37. "Getting Wind and Sun onto the Grid: A Manual for Policy Makers," IEA, 2017.
  38. "LARGE SCALE SOLAR – PV & CSP," MESIA, 2017.
  39. "Hydraulics," Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
  40. Reaching for Turkey's Hydropower Summit," Hydro Review Worldwide, 10 Aug 2014.
  41. Sources of Energy," State Hydraulic Works website, accessed Jan 2018.
  42. Flexibility The path to low-carbon, low-cost electricity grids, Climate Policy Initiative, April 2017.
  43. Mind the Storage Gap: How Much Flexibility Do We Need for a High-Renewables Grid?," Greentech Media, 22 June 2017.
  44. AK Parti Seçim Beyannamesi'nden enerji ve madencilik:, Haberturk, 24 May 2018
  45. Turkey produces 58.4 billion KWh of hydropower in 2017," Anadolu Agency, 16 Mar 2018.
  46. Plunging water levels in Turkish dams heightening concerns," Hürriyet Daily News, 9 Jan 2018.
  47. "Ibrahim Yuksel, Hasan Arman and Ibrahim Halil Demirel", "As a clean, sustainable and renewable energy— hydropower in Turkey," EDP Sciences, 2017.
  48. "Ibrahim Yuksel, Hasan Arman and Ibrahim Halil Demirel", "Hydropower in Turkey," METU, 2013.
  49. Godron (2018), pages 28,84
  50. Godron (2018), p36
  51. Turkey Starts Construction of its First Nuclear Power Plant, IAEA, 5 April 2018.
  52. Despite political rift, Greece and Turkey develop closer energy ties, Financial Mirror, 14 Dec 2017.
  53. Macron pushes for EU minimum price for carbon, Reuters, 22 March 2018
  54. Combined bioheat and biopower: A technology review and an assessment for Turkey, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 73, June 2017, Pages 1313-1332.
  55. Ayhan, Aslı "Biogas Production Potential from Animal Manure of Bursa Province," U. Ü. ZİRAAT FAKÜLTESİ DERGİSİ, 2015, Cilt 29, Sayı 2, 47-53 (Journal of Agricultural Faculty of Uludag University)


  • "Republic of Turkey Intended Nationally Determined Contribution" (PDF). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. United Nations. 2015.
  • Godron, Philipp and Mahmut Erkut Cebeci and Osman Bülent Tör and Değer Saygın (2018). "Increasing the Share of Renewables in Turkey's Power System:Options for Transmission Expansion and Flexibility" (PDF). SHURA Energy Transition Center. ISBN 978-605-2095-22-5.
  • Sivaram, Varun (2018). Taming the Sun: Innovation to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-03768-6.
  • Teske, Sven (May 2015). "energy (R)evolution A SUSTAINABLE TURKEY ENERGY OUTLOOK" (PDF). Greenpeace International.

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources

International 100% Renewable Energy Conference

External articles

Ulusal Enerji Verimliliği Eylem Planı 2017-2023 (National Energy Efficiency Action Plan)


Wikipedia:Türkiye'de kömür

Wikipedia:Category:Coal in Turkey