Turkey will boost its energy supply security by commissioning 101 new hydroelectricity plants and dams worth 10 billion Turkish liras ($3.44 billion) in January, country's ministry of forestry and water affairs told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
On Jan. 14, the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will simultaneously open 101 hydrodams in the country, which will have a capacity of 2,194 megawatts and generate 7.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, Veysel Eroglu, the minister said.
Additionally, a total of 1,071 ponds and irrigation facilities will be completed by 2019, Eroglu revealed.
Turkey is a net energy importer with little domestic resources and has a high current deficit, mostly due to the expensive imports including natural gas.
"Improving the energy mix and developing local sources of energy is vital for Turkey's supply security, which means increasing hydroelectricity's share in the mix as it has the highest potential," Eroglu added.
Turkey currently utilises only 55 percent of its hydro potential, and generates about 25 percent of its electricity from the hydro, he underlined. If the country could utilize its full potential, hydropower would easily contribute 80 percent of the energy mix, Eroglu stressed.
In the event of an energy crisis due to lack of natural gas, Eroglu assured the public that currently the country had enough water level in the hydro plants to meet demand gap and has the ability to generate a further 20 percent from hydropower by using reserve stocks if necessary.
Eroglu praised the contributions of the private sector and said, "In 13 years, the private sector built 422 hydropower plants and added 13,000 megawatts of capacity with 40 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity generation."
According to the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry data, the country generated 255 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2014, about 25 percent was met by hydroelectricity. The country targets increasing renewables' share to 30 percent by 2023.
1 US Dollar = 2.91 Turkish Liras
By Huseyin Erodgan and Zeynep Beyza Kilic