Since 1990, Turkey’s electricity consumption has steadily increased with period decreases in 2001 and 2010. The country consumed 50.13 Terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 1990 and 272.53 TWh in 2018. This thirty-year trend represents a 443.65% increase in electricity consumption throughout Turkey.
From largest to smallest share in Gigawatt hours (GWh), Turkey’s electricity sources in 2018 include coal (113,249 GWh), natural gas (92,483 GWh), hydro (59,938 GWh), wind (19,949 GWh), solar (7,800 GWh), geothermal (7,431 GWh), biofuels (2,638 GWh), other sources (950 GWh), oil (329 GWh), and waste (35 GWh).
The percentage of energy sources are broken down as follows: 37% (coal), 30% (natural gas), 19% (hydro), 7% (wind), 2.8% (solar), 2.5% (geothermal), 1% (biofuels), less than 1% (other sources), less than 1% (oil), and less than 1% (waste). Another gradation for the sources of electricity generation can be revealed in accordance with the types of these sources. In this respect, the percentages are approximately demonstrated as being: 67.5% (fossil fuels), 32.5% (renewable energy), and 0% (nuclear power).
Although Turkey currently does not produce any electricity from nuclear power sources, the state is constructing a nuclear power plant in the Mediterranean region cooperating with the Russian company Rosatom. This on-going construction has stirred up controversy and garnered criticism by the public given the current state of surplus supply in electricity as well as the anticipated threats caused by nuclear disasters.
When we take a glance at Turkey’s electricity trade levels (from the IEA: World Energy Balances Highlights), the imports and the exports are respectively reported as 213 ktoe and -268 ktoe (kilotonnes of oil equivalent) for the year 2018. Concerning the types of imports and exports, the IEA has reported that Turkey both exported and imported coal, natural gas liquids, and oil products; it is worth mentioning that crude oil is not exported from the country, only imported.
Turkey’s National Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2017-2023 contains incentives for the production of renewables and is considered a good step for reducing fossil-fuel-based energy consumption. However, while the use of natural gas in electricity has been declining since 2017, the presence of coal in electricity generation has been increasing over that same period. Even though Turkey is reportedly focusing on sustainable development in regards to policy documents, the current operations for natural gas and fossil fuel extraction along with the investments in coal-soured energy production demonstrate Turkey’s development model is unsustainable and incompatible with the principles of the Paris Agreement.
In order to make the distribution and the use of electricity in Turkey more compatible with the Paris Agreement, government investment incentives for the production and use of renewables must be enhanced, on-going and planned investments in the coal sector should be abandoned, and policies supporting low-carbon use of electric power should be strengthened.
Fatih Dönmez, Minister of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
Dr. Mehmet Emin Birpınar, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization
*Chief negotiator to represent Turkey during the international climate change negotiations held within the scope of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
This post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Turkey Country Manager Barış Can Sever