Turkey's 120 billion kilowatt-hours of renewable energy generation this year prevented energy imports worth $5 billion, an executive member of the Hydroelectric Power Plants Industry Businessmen Association (HESIAD), Taner Ercomert, told Anadolu Agency.
The country's current installed renewable energy capacity exceeded 49 gigawatts (GW) this year with a record installation increase of over 4.7 GW. Of the total installed capacity of 95 GW this year, renewables accounted for more than half.
Turkey supports renewable energy investments through its current Renewable Energy Support Scheme (YEKDEM), which started in 2011. The scheme supports wind and hydropower plants at $0.073 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), geothermal facilities at $0.105 kWh, and solar and biomass plants at $0.133 kWh. These figures can vary slightly depending on the use of locally-produced plant equipment.
The country first announced the expiry of the scheme on Dec. 31, this year, but this was extended to June 30, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a supply chain disruption especially in the first half of this year.
However, Turkey’s motivation to end the scheme was because of its dollar-based trade. Uncertainty over a replacement scheme encouraged investors to complete projects before the current scheme’s expiry date.
Natural gas, liquefied natural gas and naphtha constituted 25.7 GW of installed capacity in Turkey while total coal power comprised 20.3 GW.
Although the spread of COVID-19 brought many sectors to a halt, renewables deployment flourished and continued to grow, Ercomert said.
Turkey's renewables power generation similarly increased, reaching 120 billion kilowatt-hours, he said.
"Hydropower plants generated 77 billion kilowatt-hours out of this total while wind plants powered 24 billion, solar produced 11.5 billion and geothermal contributed 9 billion kilowatt-hours, all of which contributed greatly to our economy by helping reduce the country’s energy import bill," Ercomert explained.
In percentage terms, out of total power generation, renewable energy accounted for 43%, hydropower plants accounted for 26%, wind 8%, solar 4% and geothermal 3%.
With such high renewable installation, Ercomert said that Turkey is among the highest out of European countries, and is on its way to becoming a renewables leader worldwide. He forecast that Turkey could reach over the threshold of 50 GW in installed capacity next year.
"Turkey, after Norway, has the second-highest hydropower installed capacity at 31 GW but could be the first in a few years in Europe," he said.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya and Gulsen Cagatay