Turkey could be one of the biggest solar-energy producers in the world. Photo: Mountain/\Ash (R Walker) / Creative Commons
Just before the end of the year, the Turkish Parliament passed a long-pending renewable energy law that Energy Minister Taner Yıldız boasted would create jobs and encourage investments in new sectors. Environmentalists and members of the renewable-energy industry think the law doesn't go nearly far enough to help Turkey reach its green-power potential."A law... enacted during a period in which United Nations' regulations [instruct] countries to use more renewable energy should have been much more encouraging," Professor Tanay Sidki Uyar, the head of the Turkey branch of the European Association for Renewables, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.
"While Germany is seeking to get 100 percent of its energy from renewables by 2050 and England aims to reduce carbon emissions to zero, Turkey's law -- [in] a country which has great wind and solar energy potential -- should have promoted [renewables] far more,"
Low Feed-In Tariffs
Investors' biggest concern is the feed-in tariff, or guaranteed price for energy, set by the Parliament. According to the Hürriyet Daily News:
The law guarantees a price of 7.3 U.S. cents [5.6 euro cents] per kilowatt-hour for wind and hydroelectric power and wind energy, 10.5 U.S. cents [8.1 euro cents] for geothermal energy, and 13.3 U.S cents [10 euro cents] for energy from waste products and solar energy.
But while Yıldız expressed confidence that "our investors will do business at these prices," environmentalists say a 24-euro-cent feed-in tariff is "necessary to launch a strong solar market in Turkey," Julia Harte at Solve Climate News wrote in a comprehensive article on the challenges facing Turkey's solar entrepreneurs:
According to many environmentalists, market analysts and solar developers, the solar industry in Turkey could become one of the biggest in the world if its government offered solar producers as much regulatory and financial support as the governments of Germany and Spain, which offer solar producers generous feed-in tariffs.
The passing of the renewables law, while welcome, seems likely to be insufficient to create that strong solar and wind market in Turkey -- or even to keep Turkish firms from looking elsewhere to invest, as the energy company Senas Group did late last fall, partnering with a German company to make solar energy in dreary Berlin rather than sunny Turkey due to "the frustrating renewable energy regulations" in its home country.
More On Turkey And Energy
Turkish Energy Minister to Environmentalists: If You Hate Our Policy So Much, Stop Using Energy
'Just Talk' from Turkey at Copenhagen, Activists Say
Turkey Needs Wind, Solar for Energy Security, Expert Says
Can Turkey Break the Copenhagen Deadlock?
Get With the Times, Turkey: Coal Plants are Sooo Last Century
Turkish Government Says 'Evet' (Yes) to Nuclear Bid
Pollution to Rise Along With Energy Prices?