Turkey’s renewables growth “impressive” reports IEA

Satellite view of Turkey at night

Latest country report finds renewables growing fast despite huge gas field discovery.

The International Energy Authority (IEA) has conducted its first report on Turkey’s energy sector since 2016 and praised improvements in energy security and renewables production.

While Turkey has seen an increase in domestic gas production thanks to discovery of the Black Sea Sakarya field, this has not held back diversification away from oil and gas. The IEA reports that Turkey has expanded renewable energy production by 50% in just five years and that in 2019 it broke into the world’s top 15 countries for new renewables additions.

Along with commending renewables policy and progress to date, the IEA welcomed the Turkish government’s plans to continue on this path and capitalise on its rich renewable potential. Rapid growth in population and the economy are creating significant energy demands across the country and the IEA believes that Turkey still harnesses less than 90% of its solar potential and less than 80% of its onshore wind potential.

Launching the report, Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA executive director, commented: “Turkey has achieved impressive results in the past decade in liberalising its energy markets, boosting the role of renewables and improving its energy security. I hope this report will help inform Turkish policy makers’ decisions as they look to navigate the next phase of the country’s energy development in the most cost-effective, secure and sustainable way possible.”

At the turn of the century, Turkey was heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas and its long-term efforts to improve energy security since then has also seen other major investments. There has been a big expansion in the oil and gas infrastructure needed to facilitate imports from more numerous countries and in 2023 the country’s first nuclear power plant is set to come online.

The one area in which the IAE report raises some concerns is energy efficiency and limited progress on reducing oil consumption. It has called on Turkey to significantly strengthen incentives, market mechanisms and access to finance for energy efficiency projects and to develop a roadmap to improve fuel-switching in the transport sector, including promotion of electric vehicles.