With very very limited oil and gas reserves, Turkey is increasingly turning to renewable energy sources as a means to improve its energy security and curb dependence on imported gas from Russia and Iran.
In addition, fuelled by preparations for joining the European Union and the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol as an Annex I country, policy makers increasingly recognize the potential role of wind power as part of the country’s future energy mix.
A Wind Atlas of Turkey published by the Turkish Energy Market Regulatory Agency (EMRA) in May 2002 indicates that the regions with the highest potential for wind speeds at heights of 50 m are the Aegean, Marmara, and Eastern Mediterranean Regions of Turkey, as well as some mountainous regions of central Anatolia.
In 2009, 343 MW of new wind energy capacity were added in Turkey, bringing the total up to 801 MW. This represents a year-on-year growth rate of 75%. Taking into account the wind farm projects currenly under construction, it can be expected that some 500 MW of wind projects will be added in 2010.
Recent years have seen the start of a wind energy boom in Turkey. Before the famous tender on 1 November 2007, EMRA had received applications for more than 6,300 MW worth of wind turbines projects, more than half of which are still under evaluation today.
Following the call for tender in November 2007, additional applications for 751 projects were received by EMRA in one day, totaling 78 GW.
To date, close to 3,000 MW of Turkish wind power projects have been licensed by EMRA, out of which 822.90 MW were operational at the end of February 2010, and a further 490.4 MW are under construction.
It is expected that the remaining applications received before November 2007 will be licensed in the very near future. Following this, licenses are scheduled to be granted for 10,000 MW in the coming five years, 15,000 within 10 years and 20,000 MW in the long term.
However, experts caution that Turkey’s transmission infrastructure needs substantial upgrades in order to allow such large scale developments to be connected to the power grid.
The policy environment for wind power in Turkey
Since the introduction of Turkey’s Electricity Market Law in March 2001, Turkey has taken substantial steps towards creating a competitive and functioning electricity market, restructuring public institutions operating in the sector, and implementing the market rules that will ensure liberalisation of the sector.
Turkey has a target of increasing the country’s installed wind power capacity to 20,000 MW by the year 2023. In order to boost the uptake of renewable energy, the Turkish government in May 2005 enacted its first Renewable Energy Law, which introduced tariff support for electricity produced by renewable sources.
In May 2007 a revision of the law increased the tariff slightly to 5 – 5.5 Euro ct/kWh for a period of 10 years. While the level of support is low in comparison with other European countries, wind power producers are free to sell to the national power pool or engage directly with eligible customers in bilateral agreements where prices are generally higher than the guaranteed price.
A number of additional policy measures have helped to increase renewable energy production in Turkey in recent years. These include the obligation of the national transmission company to provide grid connection to all renewable power projects and improved transmission links with the EU to stabilize the power system.
Furthermore, most restrictions on foreign investment in the Turkish power sector have been lifted. In addition, a law has been enacted to exempt wind power installations of less than 500 kW from the obligation to receive a generation license from the EMRA. It is expected that this limit will soon be significantly increased to include larger installations.
A record of 756 wind power plant applications totaling 78,000 megawatts of energy – about twice the existing total energy supply in Turkey, are waiting to be approved by the government since their initial applications in November 2007.
The lack of government support had already hindered wind power development in the country in the past. In 2000, about 25 potential sites for wind power projects had been identified and were undergoing evaluation, but none of 17 wind power projects that had received their approvals have proceeded because of an absence of sovereign guarantees.
Surrounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Marmara and the Aegean Sea to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, Turkey has huge potential for wind power generation. A study carried out in 2002 concluded that Turkey has a theoretical wind energy potential of nearly 90,000 megawatts.
Turkey, in contrast, relies heavily on imported energy. Only around 30 percent of the total energy demand is met by domestic sources. The European Wind Energy Association has estimated that Turkey could meet 20 percent of its electricity demand from wind power with a target capacity of 20,000 megawatts, even assuming an average 8 percent annual growth in power consumption.
Turkey’s carbon emissions increased by 136 percent between 1996 and 2007, but since there is no requirement for Turkey in the Kyoto Protocol, the government did not have enough incentive to reduce carbon footprints.
According to statistics by the European Wind Energy Association, more new wind power capacity was installed in the EU in 2009 than any other electricity-generating technology. Some 39 percent of all new capacity installed last year was wind power.
The next World Wind Energy Conference & Exhibition will be held in Istanbul from June 15 to 17 with a special focus on large-scale energy integration.
Wind power projects in operation
Name – MW
AKBÜK RES (Akbük)-31.5
ALÝZE ENERJi RES (Alaçatý)-1.5
DATÇA RES (Datça)-28.8
DÜZOVA RES (Bergam-Ayvalýk)-15.0
KARAKURT RES (Akhisar)-10.8
KELTEPE RES (Göbel)-18.9
YUNT DAÐI RES (Alosbi)-42.5
BURGAZ RES (Gelibolu)-14.9
ÇATALCA RES (B.Çekmece)-60.0
ERTÜRK TEPE RES (Gelibolu)-0.9
BELEN RES (Ýskenderun)-30.0
ROTOR OSMANÝYE RES (Bahçe)-77.5
SEBENOBA RES (Antakya-3)-31.2