ALWAYS GREENER

Turkey 2012 | ENERGY & MINING | FOCUS: RENEWABLE ENERGY

Turkey is utilizing a combination of wind, solar, and geothermal energy to mitigate the country's energy imbalance and demonstrate its green technology capabilities.


With the Turkish government inviting clean energy investments and aiming to combat climate change, it is no surprise that the authorities have set goals to boost the country's share of renewable energy generation. Among its 2023 targets, the government has announced its intention to generate 30% of the country's energy mix from wind, solar, and geothermal sources.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the government is committed to tackling environmental issues and will work toward the development of cleaner energy. To do so, “Turkey has enacted its first renewable energy law and revised it over the government's stay in power. We support investors in many ways… for clean energy generation," Taner Yıldız, Minister of Energy, told TBY in an interview.

STEAM BATH

Second to none in Europe and seventh in the world, Turkey has significant potential to be a leading producer of geothermal energy. Abundant water reservoirs below the surface of the Earth with temperatures between 150°C and 200°C allow for the construction of geothermal plants around the country. Plants built above the hottest water sources can produce up to 50 MW of energy, and will be key in boosting the total generation capacity beyond the current 93 MW.

The potential of geothermal power generation rests largely on calculations and drilling success. Delta Investment Holding enjoys a 65% success rate and continues to invest in many projects throughout the country. The company has secured 91 licenses for exploration activity, complementing the government's work in the field. Over 2012, the company is expected to shift its focus toward production licenses, opening up new opportunities for private sector investors. According to Mete Duru, CEO of Delta Investment Holding, “Turkey has the biggest potential for geothermal in Europe after Iceland. Out of all other renewables, geothermal production is the most efficient. Once you have the source reservoir and the power plant, it works for 365 days of the year." In the future, up to 10% of Turkey's total energy demand could be met through the development of geothermal sources.

WIND CHASING

Wind energy is another major source of renewable energy that has seen heavily increasing investments in the past decade. In 2002, the total installed capacity of wind power was just 20 MW. That figure had reached 1,800 MW in 2011, according to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. From 2008 to 2009, wind generation capacity skyrocketed by 132%, growing at the second fastest rate in the world, weighing in just behind Mexico.

By 2020, the government aims to install 2,000 MW of energy through wind, a target that is being worked toward by numerous energy producers in the field. A leader in wind power technology and development, Borusan EnBW Enerji has set ambitious targets for 2012. The company seeks to expand its current capacity of 380 MW to 500 MW over a six-month period, thereby improving its wind portfolio. “In the expected second wave of investments, [we expect] to reach 800 MW to 1,000 MW of installed capacity through developing our own projects or acquiring well-developed projects from the market," Mehmet Acarla, General Manager of Borusan EnBW Enerji, told TBY.

Two other companies are also set to expand wind capacity in the coming year. Aksa Enerji will install an additional 24 MW of wind capacity in 2012, contributing to its total of 160 MW. The total generation of wind power plants operated by Doğan Holding will increase in 2012, reaching 147 MW once investment plans are complete.

SOAKING UP THE SUN

Turkey has made significant strides toward cleaner energy generation by investing in solar power equipment and technology. Insolation values across the country are higher than in the rest of Europe, and can provide up to 2,640 hours of sunshine annually at radiation levels of 1,311 kWh per square meter. The total energy potential of the country's sunlight resources is estimated to be 380 billion kWh per year.

To take advantage of this potential, Turkey has installed 12 million sqm of solar paneling capable of producing 7 MW of energy, a figure that has increased by 175% since 2008. Over 100 companies are involved in the manufacturing of solar paneling and other photovoltaic equipment, with total production capacity reaching 750,000 sqm in 2011.

Solimpeks Enerji depends on its geostrategic locations and innovative solutions to attract demand for solar power. As the country aims to produce a larger portion of energy through renewable sources by 2023, Solimpeks Enerji is one of the enterprises confident in meeting that target through solar power generation. “I believe the goal of another 30% of generated electricity by alternative energy means, especially through solar sources, is achievable in the next 10 years," Mustafa Koruyucu, Chairman of Solimpeks Enerji, told TBY. With new licensing processes and improved legislation for feed-in tariffs set to come into play in 2012, activity in the sector is likely to accelerate in the short to medium term.