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New 'action plan' targets 61GW of renewable energy for Turkey by 2023

Out-Law News | 24 Feb 2015 | 5:19 pm | 2 min. read

Around 30% of Turkey's energy generation capacity could come from renewable sources by 2023, under ambitious plans developed by the country's Ministry of Energy and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The Turkish 'National Renewable Energy Action Plan' (77-page / 11.3MB PDF) proposes increasing the country's existing renewable energy generation capacity to 61GW by 2023; mostly in the forms of hydro, wind and solar generation. As of 2013, Turkey had over 22GW of hydro generation capacity, but only 2.76GW of installed wind generation and no installed solar projects, according to the report.

"This action plan is a roadmap to a big change," said Terry McCallion, the EBRD's director for energy efficiency and climate change. "The target is ambitious, but with determined and concerted efforts at all levels of government and with the full participation of the industry, Turkey will be able to unlock its green energy potential. This will have a positive impact on businesses, people's lives and the environment."

The action plan sets out what Turkey needs to do in order to attract greater investment into the country's renewable energy sector. This should include financial support for projects; changes to the regulatory framework to encourage private investment in the sector; and improvements to Turkey's transmission grid, according to the report.

The EU's Renewable Energy Directive requires member states to produce a national action plan, setting out how that member state intends to meet an EU level target of 27% national energy generation from renewable sources by 2030. Turkey is currently an EU candidate country, "working diligently on the actions towards building a strong, clear and direct path toward complying with the EU acquis and its requirements", according to the report.

"Turkey, as a candidate country, has prepared this action plan as a manifestation of its commitment to those renewable energy targets and EU accession," said the report.

The Turkish economy is currently heavily dependent on imported energy supplies and the use of fossil fuels for its energy generation needs. In 2012, approximately 90% of its primary energy consumption came from fossil fuel sources and most of these were imported from other countries, according to the report.

According to the report, Turkey plans to have 34GW of hydro generation capacity; 20GW of wind; 5GW of solar; and 1GW in both geothermal and biomass generating capacity by 2030. These goals would require a sevenfold increase in non-hydro renewables output in less than a decade. The country also aims to be meeting 10% of the energy needs of its transport sector through renewable energy by 2030, according to the report.

Proposed regulatory changes set out in the report are based on international best practices and include incentivising the development of renewable energy projects through managed feed-in tariffs and premiums which would decrease in line with the falling costs of the technology. Licensing and permitting procedures should also be revised to reduce administrative burdens and duplication and make the process quicker, and could include the introduction of a 'one-stop shop', according to the report.

The ERBD has invested almost €5 billion in Turkish infrastructure, energy, industry and finance projects since 2009; with renewable energy projects representing almost half of its total portfolio. It also works with the Turkish government on energy policy and provides donor-funded technical advice. The 'action plan' was produced with the help of a grant from the Spanish government, which enabled the ERBD to hire a consultancy to produce the report.

To date, the EBRD has directly co-financed two of the largest wind farms in Turkey. The 142.5MW Enerjisa Bares wind power plant in Balikesir and the 135MW Rotor wind farm in Osmaniye account for a combined 8% of Turkey's current wind power generated electricity. In addition, the EBRD finances mid-sized and small-scale renewable energy generation in the private and residential sectors through dedicated credit lines to Turkish banks.