Energy has a strategic dimension in international policy, dilemma and conflicts. If we consider together the 9/11 attacks, the invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the present crisis and developments in the world energy market, we can see that tendencies in energy issues are headed far from peace and prosperity, that delays are possible in investments and that these problems may be intensified.
An important rise in fossil fuel prices is also expected due to the difficulty of satisfying the world’s rising demand for petroleum. In global politics cheap oil and natural gas is going the way of history.
Accepting existing developments as they are and developing policies in increasing uncertainty will not prevent energy related problems and social disturbances. As a result, we should not be fooled by recent factors such as the 5% decrease in Turkey’s demand for electricity. In reality, over the last five years, Turkey’s primary energy consumption increased 35%, and its electrical energy consumption increased 43%.
Meanwhile, our country’s dependency on foreign energy has reached 75%. Only 25% of our total energy consumption (the equivalent of 107 million tons of petroleum) is being met by local production. We can say that Turkey’s 93% dependency on foreign oil and 97% dependency on foreign natural gas will continue.
Our energy loss in industry is at least the equivalent of 6 million tons of petroleum. Our country’s conservation potential is over 25%. By exploiting the 25-30% energy conservation potential in decisive sectors it is possible to save 5 billion dollars. It is possible to reduce the share of the energy cost within product cost in manufacture, which varies from 8 to 50%.
The main reason that problems have reached such a scale is that the public service energy production is seen as a market activity, and this is not a strategic planning approach. The cause is the division, downsizing and dysfunctionalization of public enterprises in the energy sector by means of privatization and liberalization policies implemented over the last 30 years. It is due to the encouragement of electric plants that depend on imported natural gas and to the failure to improve, maintain, repair and increase the capacity of our lignite fueled and hydroelectric plants because of commercial promises made to the natural gas plants. It is due to the failure to utilize adequately our rich lignite reserves, hydraulic resources, new and renewable energy sources such as wind, geothermal and solar. However, it is possible to change this situation. Our suggestions regarding this issue are below.
Suggestions for Necessary Steps in the Renewable Energy Sector
1. “The Draft Law on Supporting the Use of Renewable Energy Sources for Electrical Energy Production” should be revised and submitted to the parliament for ratification.
• The restructuring of the renewable energy legislation can be enabled by an integrated general framework law, a “renewable energy strategy and action plan” and a “Turkey general energy document and action plan,” prepared with the participation of universities, professional organizations, expert foundations and industrial institutions, taking market failures in consideration. Strategy documents and secondary legislation that covers incentives for each investment type such as hydraulic, thermal, wind, solar and geothermal should be separately prepared and 2020-2030-2050 targets should be identified for each resource.
• Plans, strategies and targets for the electrical energy sector should be determined, and incentives should especially target R&D and local production. Development of local industries and employment in renewable energy sector should be supported in planning.
• The productivity standards of each resource should be determined in order to prevent importing unproductive technologies, inefficient use of resources and the formation of technological junkyards. The world’s beneficial and productive technologies should be encouraged considering the minimum productivity of the technology to be used (turbine productivity, panel productivity, system productivity, etc).
• Inventories of the locations of future plants should be prepared ahead of time, making sure that these locations do not overlap with land uses such as agriculture and urban development.
• A production-consumption plan should be made that minimizes transport and distribution losses.
• If transport/distribution of the produced energy is obligatory, relevant institutions should determine existing limitations of the infrastructure ahead of time.
• Project feasibility reports should be the basis of production license grants.
• The secondary legislation to be prepared should be clear and based on objective criteria.
• In order to prevent confusion, investments should begin after the legislation is in effect.
2. In order to raise awareness concerning the use of renewable energy resources, pilot projects should be implemented in all provinces/towns, with public guidance and contributions from professional organizations, universities, government institutions and local governments.
3. It will be a more realistic structure if ETKB follows its actual functions including licensing, technically monitoring and contracting new investments in the energy sector, and EPDK to return to its role of regulation, monitoring and determining flow up investments.
4. The downsizing, dysfunctionalization and privatization of public enterprises in the energy sector should cease and public enterprises should be strengthened. BOTAS and TPAO should be reunited under Turkish Petrol and Natural Gas Institution in order to continue natural gas and oil search, production, transport, refinery, distribution and sale activities in an interated manner while EUAS, TEIAS, TEDAS and TETAS should be reunited under Turkish Electric Institution (TEK) so that electric production, transport and distribution activities are integrated.
5. The main principle of energy production investments should be the minimization of environmental damage. Environmental impact assessment reports and EPDK licence details should be transparent and ‘EIA Appropriate’ documents should be prerequisite for licences to be granted. Investment licences should be cancelled if previously licensed investments fail to get EIA documents or if previously given EIA documents are cancelled. In applications to renew EIA reports or EPDK licences, fuel changes, especially from coal to imported coal, and extensive capacity increases should not be permitted.
6. Liquid bed technologies should not be used in coal fueled plants and it should be obligatory to have chimney treatment facilities and high efficiency filters in existing and new plants. Air cooling systems should be used in natural gas fueled plants, rater than water cooling systems that diminish already limited water resources. Necessary revisions and capacity improvements in thermal plants should be finalized rapidly, idle capacities should be utilized, technical productivity and readiness of coal based thermal plants should be increased, and measures should be taken to reduce pollution. Privatization of plants that have been rehabilitated by public finance and contracting rehabilitation works to unqualified foreign firms should be stopped.
7. Investments toward reducing loss and piracy in electricity that is around 15% should be made rapidly, legal regulations on conservation and efficiency should be made.
8. Continuing public hydraulic plant projects should be finished by allocating necessary resources. EPDK should monitor the meeting of the construction deadlines it licensed. The importance of this issue is illustrated by the fact that only one of every five hydraulic plant projects licensed by EPDK has investment realization above 35%.
9. The grid connection and system balance of wind plants should be technically investigated, problems should be resolved by R&D support if necessary.
10. The existing capacity for electricity production (500 MW) from geothermal sources should be utilized, tens of thousands of homes should be heated with geothermal water, and the prioritization of the use of geothermal resources for centrally heating dense urban settlements should be obligatory.
11. A legal foundation for the utilization of the solar power potential should be established, secondary legislation should put in to effect according to this law, determination of solar power production technology level, the scope of R&D activities, methods, pilot facilities, production facilities, manufacturing and assembly stages should be planned. Local production of Photovoltaic cells and condensing systems should be aimed.
12. Decrees on norms, standards, minimum performance criteria and procedures for architectural design, heating/cooling needs and equipments, insulation needs and materias, electrical systems and lighting should be prepared by EIE, Ministry of Settlement and public works and professional organizations, put in effect and implementation should be monitored.
13. The number of academic research institutions such as TUBITAK and Marmara MAM should be increased. Research centers should be established for: solar energy technologies in Mugla, Adana, Mersin and Harran universities; lignite/coal burning technologies in Afsin Elbistan; wind plants in Izmir and Canakkale; geothermal energy in the Aegean region; hydraulic energy in southeastern Anatolia, and biofuel in Cukurova and the GAP region.