Spotlight Activity: Turkey’s Coal Reserves Are Low Quality and Need to be Phased Out
Approximately 3.2% of the total world lignite / sub bituminous coal reserves are in Turkey. 79% of that lignite (or brown coal) is below 2500 kcal / kg of calorific value, and is used by thermal power plants. The share of coal in Turkey’s total primary energy consumption is 27%. As of the end of 2018, the installed capacity based on domestic coal is 10.203 MW (11.5%) and the installed power based on imported coal is 8.794 MW (10%).
About 46% of the lignite reserves are in Afsin-Elbistan basin. The most important coal reserves in the country are in the City of Zonguldak. The total coal reserves in the Zonguldak Basin are 1,30 billion tons and the corresponding reserve is 506 million tons.
In order to meet the increasing energy demand in parallel with the industrialization and population growth, the Country’s objective is to give importance to domestic resources in energy production and reduce the dependence on foreign sources. For this reason, since 2005 investigation of new coal fields and improvement of existing sites has been accelerated. It is possible to increase the installed lignite production capacity by 20,000 MW with the additional units found in the investigated lignite fields.
Status: Standing Still
Much of the domestic coal extracted in Turkey is low-quality lignite. It is one of the most polluted fuels in the world because of its low calorific value as well as the ash and humidity it produces. Because of this Turkey’s investments in energy have been trending towards renewable sources. The best example of this is the lack of investor interest in the Eskişehir Alpu Thermal Power Plant. An investor tender in that plant recently was postponed for the fifth time since 2017.
Turkey is right in seeking to achieve energy independence. However domestic carbon-based energy sources such as coal should not be used to achieve this goal. The low calorific value of the lignite does not whet the appetite of the investor. Instead, renewable energy investments have been making big splash. Solar installed capacity has increased 37 times compared to 2014. We suggest that the Ministry continue to encourage investments in alternative renewable energy sources instead of investigating low quality lignite sources.
Send Action Alert Message to:
Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
Phone: 0312 212 64 20 – 7000