Turkey’s wind capacity and equipment production has grown to the extent that it now ranks as one of the 10 biggest markets globally.
Growth in this sector has already crowned Turkey as the fifth biggest equipment producer in Europe this year, according to Turkish Wind Energy Association (TWEA) data on Wednesday. And this growth has seen Turkey expand its exports to 44 countries in six continents.
Of the 79 wind equipment producer companies in Turkey, 70% generate their revenues from equipment exports.
Turkey's current installed wind capacity is forecast to reach 10,000 megawatts (MW) by the end of this year, marking an increase of around 1,200 MW. Wind power meets around 8.5% of the country's total electricity generation and is estimated to replace $1 billion worth of natural gas imports.
"Thanks to the growing wind capacity and equipment production sector, Turkey has become one of the 10 biggest markets in the world in wind energy," Hakan Yildirim, president of the Turkish Wind Energy Congress (TWEC) told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.
He attributed Turkey's Renewable Energy Support Scheme (YEKDEM) for paving the way for this sector’s growth.
Turkey’s support for renewable energy investments through YEKDEM 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 also vary slightly depending on the use of locally-produced equipment in the plants.
The expiry of the scheme was due to take place on Dec. 31, this year, but was extended to June 30, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic which caused supply chain disruptions especially in the first half of this year.
Turkey’s motivation to end the scheme was because of its dollar-based trade.
This year a total of 1,110 MW will start to benefit from YEKDEM while the 10-year support period of 1,375 MW capacity will expire, Yildirim said.
He advocated for a new, well-designed support mechanism to create a more reliable and predictable market environment to benefit most business sectors and attract more wind energy investment in the country.
"I personally believe a new mechanism will support domestic production and help employment," he said.
As Turkey needs to add 1,000 MW of wind capacity every year, a new scheme is crucial to contributing to this target.
“Wind power is a cheap source of electricity, and in the long term lowers power prices,” he concluded.
By Gulsen Cagatay and Nuran Erkul Kaya