The geothermal sector in Turkey is seeking an increase in government incentives, Orhan Mertoglu, head of the Geothermal Association of Turkey said Thursday.
“Turkey is rich in geothermal potential and should utilize this local source as much as possible,” Mertoglu told Anadolu Agency regarding the requirements and expectations within the sector.
Geothermal energy is a sustainable and renewable source, which arises from the heat of the earth.
“In hydrothermal, or hot water, the country’s potential is 2,000 megawatts, and with improved hot dry rock technology, the country can unearth 15,000 megawatts,” Mertoglu said adding that with higher government support, such generation can be realized.
In Turkey government incentives for geothermal electricity is $0.105 per kilowatt-hours (Kw/h). He urged the government to take action and raise the incentive level to $0.15 per Kw/h.
Mertoglu also stressed the importance of raising the guarantee of the government's purchase contract period to buy geothermal electricity. In European Union countries, the purchase contract length is 20 years, whereas in Turkey it is 10 years, he reminded.
“The current purchase guarantee will end in 2020, the government needs to announce that the time has been extended to at least 20 years as in the EU countries,” he said.
“With the required improvements, investors will be encouraged to make more investments, look for fields and start developing them,” Mertoglu underlined.
He also said that through increasing the use of geothermal energy, it is also possible to reduce dependence on energy imports.
- Geothermal heat should be incentivized
Globally, Turkey is in the top 10 for geothermal electricity use and in the top five for heating related usage.
Turkey currently heats 160,000 houses with geothermal energy and has the potential to increase that number to 1 million, Mertoglu said. In Europe, geothermal heating is incentivized but there is no government support in Turkey, he explained.
“There needs to be incentives in place in Turkey as well. The government should grant 25 percent of project costs in the geothermal heating field to increase investments,” Mertoglu argued.
He also added that the field lacks proper administrative and legal regulation.
- 2023 goals will be surpassed
As part of the country’s renewable energy goals for 2023, Turkey aims to reach 1,000 megawatts in geothermal energy.
Mertoglu expressed his confidence that the country will reach its 2023 geothermal target.
“Eight years ago the country had 15 megawatts and now it increased to 650 megawatts. The country can even reach 2,000 megawatts with added incentives,” he said.
During the geothermal conference in Australia in 2015, Turkey was declared as an example country for showing the highest increase in geothermal capacity, he reminded.
By Zeynep Beyza Kilic