Turkey ranked fourth in the global geothermal energy league in 2017 after the U.S., Philippines and Indonesia, thanks to the addition of $1.4 billion of investments, Turkey's geothermal association head said on Tuesday.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Turkey's Geothermal Power Plant Investors Association (JESDER) President Ufuk Senturk said that Turkey’s geothermal energy installed capacity increased from 760 megawatts (MW) to 1,100 MW in 2017.
The amount of investment to geothermal energy increased 45 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, Senturk said.
“The number of geothermal capacity was 37 last year, and thanks to investments, the number is now 41,” he added.
In addition, 23 facilities are also under construction with 614 megawatts of installed capacity.
- State support should continue
Senturk said that Turkey’s policy to help investors increase their capacities through the Turkish Renewable Energy Resources Support Mechanism (YEKDEM) has been significant for the development of clean energy resources and their increase usage in the country.
He advised that state support be given to facilities that have risky research and development processes in the geothermal energy sector despite the YEKDEM expiry date of 2020.
YEKDEM offers a feed-in tariff of $0.073 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for wind and hydropower projects, $0.105 for geothermal facilities and $0.133 for solar energy and biomass geothermal plants.
However, Turkey’s Energy and Natural Sources Minister Berat Albayrak announced on Nov. 1, 2017 that the YEKDEM mechanism does not meet the demand for the clean energy sector, and it will not continue after 2020.
Commenting on foreign interest in Turkey's geothermal sector, Senturk said that last year investors from Middle Eastern countries bought 14 operation licenses for geothermal fields located in central Anatolian regions.
According to Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Ministry's official web page, Turkey is geographically located on an active tectonic zone and is therefore rich in terms of geothermal energy resources.
The country has approximately 1,000 geothermal springs of various temperatures located over the country.
In theory, Turkey's geothermal capacity is predicted as 31,500 megawatts thermal.
"Seventy eight percent of these geothermal fields are situated in Western Anatolia, 9 percent in Central Anatolia, 7 percent in the Marmara Region, 5 percent in Eastern Anatolia and 1 percent in other regions," according to the energy ministry's web page.
Ninety percent of the country's geothermal resources are low and medium enthalphied geothermal areas that are suitable for direct applications of heating, thermal tourism, and the output of minerals, etc. while 10 percent are suitable for indirect applications --the generation of electricity.
Currently, geothermal energy is used for electricity production, both greenhouse and residential heating, thermal and health tourism, industrial mineral mining and for drying purposes.
"First geothermal electricity generation was in Kizildere geothermal field by MTA [General Directorate of the Mineral Research & Exploration of Turkey, an energy ministry scientific institution] in 1975 and was initiated by Kizildere power plant in the Saraykoy district of Denizli with 0.5 megawatts of electric power," according to the ministry.
By Gulsen Cagatay