Turkey reaches 10 GW wind energy milestone

Turkey has rapidly developed into a leading market for wind energy. The country lately celebrated an important milestone: it reached a cumulative wind energy capacity of 10,000 MW. Turkey’s large territory and excellent wind speeds offer ideal conditions for wind energy production. Over the past decade the country has developed a strong wind energy supply chain.

Turkey reached 10 GW of wind energy installations, a significant achievement for the country. It means that Turkey managed to increase its wind energy capacity tenfold over the last 10 years.

Over that period, Turkey has seen considerable diversification of its energy mix, in particular through the expansion of renewable generation capacity. The Turkish electricity mix is rapidly shifting towards renewables which now account for 43% of total electricity production, while coal and gas account for 34% and 23%, respectively. Today wind energy is 10% of Turkey’s electricity mix, making it the second biggest source of renewable energy after hydro power.

All 10 GW installed in Turkey today are onshore wind. The 10 GW milestone is far from being the end of onshore wind energy development in Turkey. The country aims to add 20 GW of wind energy by 2030. Most of it will continue to come from onshore wind.

With the exception of Istanbul, the majority of locations with high wind energy capacity are in the Aegean region. The province of Izmir is leading wind energy deployment, hosting around 20% of the countries wind energy capacity. The largest wind energy project, the 312 MW Soma project, is located in the provinces of Manisa and Balikesir.

The success of Turkey’s wind industry is rooted in its continuously expanding, strong domestic supply chain. Also many European and international companies have set up production facilities in Turkey. Latest data shows 3,580 companies active in the Turkish wind energy sector, with 25,000 people directly or indirectly employed. The country hosts production facilities of market-leading companies such as TPI Composites, Enercon, GRI Renewables. The American company TPI Composites for example produces high-quality composites used in wind turbine blades in two plants located in the Izmir region, employing a total of approximately 4,200 people. From there they primarily serve customers in Europe, including the local Turkey market, the Middle East and Africa.

WindEurope’s Finance and Investment Trends saw Turkey rank among the top five countries in Europe with €1.6bn new investments in wind energy in 2020. Turkey also was the fifth-biggest equipment producer in Europe in 2020. Today there are 77 wind turbine equipment producers with production facilities in Turkey, exporting into 45 countries on six continents.

So far, all 10 GW of wind energy installed in Turkey are onshore. But the country is now turning to the possibility of developing offshore wind as well. A roadmap published by the Izmir Development Agency to promote offshore wind development estimated Turkey’s total offshore wind potential at 70 GW.

The industry is yet waiting for concrete offshore wind legislation. But the Turkish offshore wind industry is shaping up. The recently founded Turkish Offshore Wind Association joined WindEurope to draw lessons from Europe’s offshore wind success story.