Turkey: Blowing Hot And Cold

Last Updated: 5 March 2019
Article by Levent Lezgin Kilinc

Turkey needs to do more to reduce its emissions. But is this coal-producing nation doing enough to develop the renewables that will increase national energy security and cut the country's dependence on imported oil and gas?

Turkey's increasing energy demand – rising at 4 per cent a year and therefore one of the world's fastest growing – is highly dependent on imports, mainly oil and natural gas. Only a quarter is secured from domestic resources. While there is pressure for Turkey to become greener, the country sends out mixed messages. Its use of coal is expanding with plans for 80 new power stations, doubling its current capacity and reducing dependence on imports.

Simultaneously, at the UN Climate Change Conference, held in Katowice in December, Turkey applied to change its status from a developed to a developing country so as to be eligible for financial support to carry out initiatives to combat climate change more effectively: such a change would enable it to receive more financing to invest in solutions. As one of only a handful of countries not to ratify the Paris agreement, Turkey says that it will not do so until its status is changed. However, Turkey left Katowice disappointed with its request declined.

The Turkish government's energy policy objectives, as stated, are: Taking into account increasing energy demand and import dependency, prioritisation among energy supply security-related activities; within the context of sustainable development, giving due consideration to environmental concerns all along the energy chain; increasing efficiency and productivity, establishing transparent and competitive market conditions through reform and liberalisation; augmenting research and development on energy technologies.

These are to be achieved through the following goals: diversification of routes and sources for imported oil and natural gas; increasing the ratio of local and renewable energy; increasing energy efficiency; and adding nuclear.

To fulfil some of these goals, supportive government mechanisms have been in place for some time. Launched in 2011, a Sustainable Energy Action Plan received subsequent EBRD support in the financing of several Turkish wind projects. Meanwhile, current Turkish energy policy is committed to rolling out the adoption of renewable energy and boosting the necessary infrastructure. There are plans to increase the share of renewable energy resources in electricity production to at least 30% by 2023. To realise this objective, the government is in the process of implementing supportive policies, such as feed-in tariffs and investment incentives for renewable energy.

Above all, Turkey has been increasing its drive towards greater self-sufficiency. To meet itsannual 300bn KW of electricity consumption, the current energy mix is comprised: a quarter of electricity generation is hydro-based, a third comes from natural gas and another third from coal. Targets to reduce these figures well below 30 per cent on a sustained basis have been hampered by insufficient domestic output to meet rising demand: energy imports average $55bn a year. To reduce this deficit, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MENR) plans to boost domestic energy output across the board. This follows significant energy reforms, which have resulted in much greater participation from private entities and the creation of a more competitive energy market.

However, in the short term, energy is becoming more expensive due to the economic problems arising from last year's lira devaluation. Energy prices increased several times in 2018. The last increase in October saw electricity rates for residential consumers rise by 8 per cent and for commercial and industrial consumers by 18 per cent. Since January 2018, Turkey's natural gas prices have increased by 29.5 and 54 per cent respectively for residential and commercial/ industrial consumers.

As one of the world's top ten countries for coal production (mostly lignite), renewable resources and geothermal energy, Turkey's oil and gas resources are limited – imports are a major factor in the energy current account deficit. To diversify the mix and to maximise domestic resources, a government road map has been implemented to transform thermal plants and to increase output and efficiency in coal production, which has gone from 60m to nearly 100m tons over the past five years. Hence the 80 new power stations.

Policies that are not so green are matched by those which are. Turkey's wind electricity generation hit a new daily record last September with 16.8 per cent of the country's total power being generated from wind turbines – evidence of the increasing capacity of Turkey's renewable energy. One windy day, however, does not mean that every day is. Incorporating wind power into existing power grids is challenging: fluctuating wind speeds and direction mean that turbines generate power inconsistently. To increase domestic electricity production and renewable energy sources, two new solar and wind projects in the Wind Energy Renewable Energy Resource Area (YEKA) have been announced while the installed capacity of hydroelectric power will be increased to 30 GW.

So will there be a sustainable shift away from non-renewables? Progress in renewableenergy as part of the mix is shifting: installed capacity of wind energy in Turkey increased from 20MW in 2002 to 4.4GW by 2015. Currently, 158 wind energy companies are operational in Turkey with 207 wind energy plants delivering 6.5GW of installed capacity, while 32 projects with 808 MW of installed capacity are being built. The potential capacity of many existing wind power plants can be raised, according to industry experts. In total, wind provides roughly eight per cent of the country's total installed power capacity, while wind energy accounts for 6 per cent of Turkey's electricity production.

But further private investment is needed. Although Turkey has strong wind resources, onshore and offshore, very deep waters surrounding it demand specialist know how. Since 2006, Turkey's wind energy sector has attracted $12.3bn in investment, according to the Turkish Wind Energy Association. Last June, MENR launched a tender: inviting applications for the construction and operation of a 1,200-MW offshore wind farm with the precise location to be determined. On completion, it will be the world's biggest.

As originally determined by the Electricity Market and Security of Supply Strategy in 2009, several targets have been adopted to generate electricity from renewable sources. If met, these renewable energy targets will generate between 275,000 and 545,000 direct job opportunities in the energy sector. They will also enable a fossil fuel saving of approximately 790,000 tonnes of natural gas, or 464,000 cubic meters, by 2023.

As with many countries, renewable energy in Turkey has a critical role to play in shifting dependence away from fossil fuels. Although the region is strategically important for oil and natural gas producers, it is also well positioned as a diversified energy market for the future. For this reason, it is critical for Turkey to use a variety of different energy sources, ranging from imported oil and natural gas to renewables. This will ensure that supply security and continuity are maintained, as well as allowing for the further development of energy transportation projects.

This article was published in The Environment Magazine

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Kilinc Law & Consulting
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Kilinc Law & Consulting
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions