Renewables driving capacity growth in Turkey's power generation sector

01 May 2023 3 min. read

Turkey’s power generation industry reached a milestone last year, surpassing the 100 GW capacity for the first time in history. Renewables are playing a major part in driving the growth.

In 2022, Turkey’s total power generation capacity increased by a 4% compared to the previous year, reaching 103.8 gigawatts (GW). The power generation industry added an additional 4 GW in 2022, which was mainly driven by renewable energy. That is according to a new report from global consulting firm Kearney.

In the past 15 years, Turkey’s total power generation capacity has more than doubled. The sources of power generation have also diversified, with more wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass capacities. Despite this, fossil fuels like coal and natural gas continue to make up a substantial proportion of Turkey's energy generation.

Renewables driving capacity growth in Turkey's power generation sector

“Through appropriate strategies and with the aid of the changes and advancements that commenced in the energy sector in 2001, Turkey has established a more competitive electricity market,” said the country’s Energy Minister Abdullah Tancan.

A strategy of transitioning to renewable energy has been a key driver for the recent capacity increases. In 2022, the capacity added by wind and solar power plants reached 1.6 GW, making up 40% of the total capacity additions.

At the same time, unfavorable market conditions have led to a decline in natural gas capacity. As a result of a significant rise in capacity in previous years, electricity prices have dropped sharply, causing the closure of some natural gas power plants.

Renewables driving capacity growth in Turkey's power generation sector

With a population of 85 million and home to a major manufacturing sector, Turkey is a regional powerhouse that has in recent years been working towards reducing fossil fuel emissions while also sustaining economic growth.

Despite beginning a major shift towards renewable energy, Turkey reversed much of that momentum in 2022, when coal energy production increased dramatically and emissions rose to their highest levels since 2018. Turkey also began importing far more Russian coal than ever before.

Considering these contradictory tendencies, it remains unclear what direction Turkey’s electricity sector will be headed in the future.

Renewables driving capacity growth in Turkey's power generation sector

Turkey was listed 30th on a recent list of the world’s top 40 markets with the most attractive renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities. This position is down from 25th place in the previous year’s list, but Turkey was still above Austria, Switzerland, and Norway, as well as other large developing economies like Mexico and South Africa.

“While the world was grappling with an energy crisis [due to the war in Ukraine], Turkey successfully increased its electricity production capacity by diversifying its energy production portfolio and emphasizing domestic and renewable energy resources,” said Kearney partner Onur Okutur. “This achievement showcases Turkey's dedication to pursuing a sustainable and resilient energy future.”