Turkey has a good start on shifting to renewable energy, but still needs to increase its efforts and investment in cleaner energy sources. EEL Events spoke to Yusuf Bahadir Turhan about renewable energy in Turkey and its future potential. Mr Turhan is the founder of YBT Enerji, an energy investment company which develops renewable energy power plants.
Turkey is particularly remarkable with the increase of renewable energy investments in recent years? How do you assess the opportunities and advantages in this field in Turkey?
There is now over 7 GW of wind and 5,5 GW of solar power plants in operation in Turkey. Most of this wind and all of this solar plants began operation in the last 5 years. Although this is a rapid increase, wind and solar power represents rather a small portion in the total installed power of 80 GW of Turkey. Government mentions to increase renewable resources’ portion in the power mix of the country, so this means there is still way to go there, which points at an opportunity. There is still feed-in-tariff in the country for wind and solar; and coming auctions will also continue this scheme, although the FIT price will likely decrease. Turkey wants to decrease the price it pays for electricity generation because still half of country’s energy is generated from imported gas and coal. This is crucial for our economy, which grows 5 – 6 % annually, so I believe government incentives will continue and even increase. Government showed its determination about this subject with the most recent regulation of 12th May 2019, by encouraging the roof-top solar installations and also claiming that it will open an auction for new solar licences of a total of around 1 GW before the end of 2019. Turkey is advantageous for renewables as there is plenty of potential for both wind and solar, yet waiting to be utilised. As you know, solar radiation in even the most cloudy parts of the country is greater than that of most of the European countries. Also, there are still plenty of barren fields which can be used for solar power plants, where surfaces of the lakes in the country are still waiting to be utilised for solar power plants. Likewise, country still did not begin to use its off-shore potential for wind farms. Therefore there are still great opportunities when you think these economic conditions and renewable potential of the country. Another advantage to invest in Turkey is that a know-how and educated work-force is ready to design and realise solar and wind power plants in the country. As I mention, the rapid increase in installed power in the last 5 years accumulated the necessary knowledge in the country, both on the private and public sector. Therefore, everyone you may encounter now is pretty knowledgeable about the subject.
What does the world expect in the next 10 years for solar and wind power generation and distribution?
The most important change is the prosumer concept, where every consumer will also be a producer of electricity to some extend. This will be available with the advance in both wind and solar technologies and also with advances in the smart grid technologies. This will also open the way for micro electricity trade between each prosumer, so that a new medium of exchange will be needed. This will be done with blockchains. Blockchains will give the prosumers the required agility and flexibility. Also we will be increasingly talking about the decrease in the cost of electricity storage. Every wind or solar power plant will be built with an integrated storage facility. This way, the only argument against the renewables to dominate electricity production will fade away. Because solar and wind farms will be able to provide firm energy to the grid. Today, first trials of such renewable power plants are being made. They are successful but expensive. In the next ten years, we will see past’s fossil fuel power plants will be replaced with these wind and solar power plants with massive batteries, as battery costs go low. Finally, in generation of electricity from sun, we will be watching the advances in perovskite technology. This technology promises great increase in the efficiency of solar panels while decreasing the cost of these panels significantly. Their easy-to-produce nature will make the panel production a rather easily accessible technology, we will see smaller producers spread all over the World most probably.
In order to identify the key good fitting solutions which can help to advance energy investment projects in Turkey, hear more from Mr Turhan and tap on the expertise of other energy professionals at our 10th Turkey Energy Forum 2019 in Istanbul on 2-3rd October.