Almost $7 billion (TL 51.78 billion) was invested in 2020 as Turkey added nearly 4,800 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity, a report said Thursday.
The capacity was the highest ever added over one year, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
Half of the additional renewable energy capacity in 2020 came from hydropower plants, while wind, solar and biomass almost made sizable contributions.
The push from investors to complete their projects in time to benefit from the Renewable Energy Support Scheme (YEKDEM), which was due to expire on Dec. 31 last year, was among the main triggers of the capacity increase.
Turkey’s motivation to end the scheme was because of its dollar-based trade, and uncertainty over a replacement scheme encouraged investors to complete projects before the current scheme’s expiry date.
The country first announced the expiry of the Renewable Energy Support Scheme (YEKDEM) on Dec. 31, 2020. However, this was extended to June 30 this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused supply chain disruptions especially in the first half of last year.
YEKDEM, which started in 2011, supports wind and hydropower plants at $0.073 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), geothermal facilities at $0.105 kWh, and solar and biomass plants at $0.133 kWh. These figures can vary slightly depending on the use of locally produced plant equipment.
“Almost all of the total increase in power capacity in Turkey last year came from renewables which was a remarkable trend. This capacity growth enabled around $6.5 billion-$7 billion of investment in renewable energy,” Deloitte Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Industry Leader, Elif Düşmez Tek, told AA.
Fatih Dönmez, Turkey’s energy and natural resources minister said during an interview on Dec. 30, 2020, that the ratio of renewable resources in total installed power reached an all-time high of 51.21% and the renewable energy capacity increase exceeded that of 21 countries in Europe.
Tek said that in line with the strategic plan of the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry covering the 2019-2023 period, an increase of around 2,100 MW of power capacity is expected in the country this year.
“This addition is estimated to generate $2.5 billion in investments, of which renewables are expected to produce the majority,” Tek noted.
She said an investment of around $1.5 billion is expected in the power transmission and distribution sectors in Turkey this year.
Tek also touched on the impacts of COVID-19 on the energy sector, pointing out the demand fall due to slower economic activity.
“We see deep effects of COVID-19 in the energy sector. The economic activity fell and the financial difficulties of energy sector players continue. Currently, there is no other new investment plan in the sector except for renewables,” she said. “In the post-COVID-19 period when economic activity and power demand quickly rebound, we might have some concerns over the security of supply.”
Turkey’s power consumption last year grew by 0.14% compared to 2019. Turkey’s power demand growth was forecasted to be around 3%-5% in 2020 before the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.