Turkey plans world’s biggest offshore wind farm

Turkey is planning to develop the world’s biggest offshore wind plant, the country’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak has announced.

The scheme was proposed during the Forum of Energy and Mines conference on February 22. Albayrak gave no details of the project, other than to say that his ministry was currently working on the details and intended to issue a tender for the project this summer. The capacity would be built under Turkey’s Renewable Energy Resource Areas (YEKA) framework.

Possible sites for such a plant include the Sea of Marmara, much of which is comparatively shallow, and the country’s southwestern coast, which is already home to 24 onshore wind plants totalling 904 MW.

Other possible locations might be in the shallow offshore regions on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Although conditions and water depths may be well-suited, this may prove to be more a more difficult political proposition. Turkey and Greece have long been in dispute over the demarcation of their respective territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in the region.

Nevertheless, pro-government Turkish newspaper the Daily Sabah reported that the site “will be established” in the Aegean.

At present, the largest operational offshore wind farm in the world is the UK’s 630-MW London Array. This will be superseded in 2020 with the scheduled completion of Ørsted’s 1.2-GW Hornsea One project, which is currently under construction. Turkey will need to aim for something at least this large to secure its promised pole position.

Albayrak also announced future plans for a tender for grid-scale battery storage for use by Turkey’s solar power generators, but again gave no details beyond the suggestion that a tender would be held later in the year.

Separately he announced firmer plans for two new grid access tenders for 1 GW each of new onshore wind and solar plants, which will be held sometime in the summer.

As with previous grid access tenders held by state grid operator TEIAS, bidding will be for grid access slots of specified capacity, and will be awarded on the basis of what discount operators can offer on Turkey’s guaranteed feed-in tariffs (FiTs) of US$0.073 per kWh for wind and US$0.133 per kWh for solar power.

As before, winning bidders will also receive a pre-licence for their project which guarantees the issuing of a full generating licence once they can demonstrate financial closure for the project.

Albayrak added that the ministry would look to regulate the installation of rooftop solar systems in future too, and expand installed capacity.

The new tenders are the latest steps in Turkey’s long-term energy policy, which see it diversifying away from imported natural gas for power generation in favour of domestic resources, in particular renewables.

According to TEIAS data, at the end of last year Turkish wind capacity amounted to 6,517 MW, up 13.3% on the year, while solar capacity reached 3,420 MW, up 311% on the year, with a further 416 MW of solar plants holding preliminary licences.

In December TEIAS held three grid access tenders for new wind projects, which allocated slots and licences for 2,800 MW of new capacity.