Overview of Turkey’s Energy Sector


The year 2021 took an important place in Turkey’s energy history with the ratification of the Paris climate agreement and the announcement of a zero emissions target for 2053. At COP27 in November, with an updated National Contribution Statement, Turkey announced that its reduction target had been raised to 41 percent from the 21 percent increase in emissions identified for 2030. Although the stated target seems more stable, it can be said that emissions under the reduction scenario will be 33% higher than in 2020.

Energy Sector Turkey’s total carbon dioxide (CO2) is responsible for about 87% of its emissions. This raises the relevance of the sector’s decarbonization process in terms of combating climate change. For Turkey’s transition to a carbon neutral economy in 2053, it is important to increase the share of renewable energy in electricity generation and replace fossil fuels with electricity produced from renewable sources in areas where energy is last used. In addition, it is necessary to accelerate the improvement of energy efficiency in all sectors, the electrification of transport and heating, as well as to accelerate the development of infrastructure and technologies for them.

By the end of 2021, the share of renewable energy in Turkey’s total installed capacity reached 54%, and the share of renewable resources in generation was 36%, of which 17% came from non-hydro resources. Turkey’s energy imports increased by 57% in 2021 compared to 2020 and reached $50.6 billion. Reducing Turkey’s dependence on fossil fuel imports is important both for energy security and for reducing the trade deficit. As part of Turkey’s energy transformation, energy efficiency has been at the center of the country’s strategy and goals and has long been a detailed focus of energy policy. When assessed against Turkey’s 2023 targets, it can be seen that primary energy intensity decreased by 12.7% in the period 2012-2020 and development must accelerate to reach the 20% target in the Strategy Paper in 2023.

Since 2000, the share of electricity in Turkey’s total energy consumption has increased significantly. The expansion of the electricity network and the increase in the use of electrical appliances (household appliances, air conditioners and heaters), especially in residential, commercial and service buildings, play an important role in this increase. With regard to growth in the industrial sector, a significant share is the widespread use of electric arc furnaces, especially in the production of iron and steel. The share of electricity in the energy consumption of the transport sector as of 2020 is less than 1%. The share of electric and hybrid vehicle sales in total vehicle sales reached 9% in 2021, almost double the 4% share in 2020.

The grid flexibility required by ubiquitous electrification and the increasing share of variable renewables in electricity generation will not only minimize the need for fossil fuel power plants, but also ensure the reliability and stability of the system. Greater flexibility can be achieved through options such as battery storage, pumped storage, demand-side participation, greater use of interconnects, system-oriented power plant location, and provision of hot spares from renewable energy sources. energy sources.

In line with the transformation of energy systems, digitization activities and digital technologies are becoming more prevalent to help transform the value chain in the electricity sector. Targets for net zero emissions globally focus on green hydrogen as a common solution to decarbonize the entire energy system. It seems important to understand the role of green hydrogen in transforming Turkey’s energy system and plan accordingly.

While energy security issues, brought to the fore by international events such as the Russo-Ukrainian war, support energy transformation in the long term, limited financial resources could lead to domestic fossil fuels in addition to renewables in the short term. . The uncertainty caused by the war and the rapid rise in energy prices caused an energy crisis on a global scale, and the effects of the crisis began to be felt in many different areas. This situation shows the importance of reducing Turkey’s dependence on foreign energy. In the coming period, Turkey’s focus on renewable energy, energy efficiency, electrification of transport and the heating sector, as well as the development of clean technologies such as green hydrogen, by drawing up a roadmap to reach the zero goal, can play a key role.

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