Having made cheap energy a locomotive of growth by increasing the use of renewable energy resources, Turkey aims to be a world leader in geothermal energy.
Mehmet Şişman, vice chairman of the Association of Geothermal Power Plant Investors (JESDER), said the installed power of 25 megawatts in geothermal energy has risen to 1,053 megawatts thanks to a law enacted by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in 2007.
Şişman said that Turkey is fourth among countries with the most geothermal energy following the U.S., the Philippines and Indonesia. He said that it targets to be the top in geothermal energy in the very near future.
At a meeting with a group of journalists, the JESDER chairman said that the geothermal energy industry has grown by 60 percent to 70 percent or more since 2007.
"Our installed power in geothermal energy in 2007 was approximately 25 megawatts, but now we have reached 1,053 megawatts, and we will end the year with 1,086 megawatts," he said.
According to Şişman, with its current potential, geothermal energy meets the electricity requirement of 2 million houses.
"We expect an investment of around $1 billion in the industry in 2018," he said, adding that installed capacity in energy power plants is 83,000 megawatts as of late November 2017, with nearly 1.2 percent of it being covered by geothermal power plants.
Turkey will end 2017 with electricity production of 289 billion kilowatt hours, with geothermal energy power plants providing 6 billion kilowatt hours of that, or 2.1 percent of overall production.
"With the electricity we have produced in these power plants, we have been able to prevent natural gas imports of approximately $650 million. Geothermal energy is a completely domestic resource and we are happy to have explored the sleeping ore from under the ground thanks to a law that was passed in 2007," he said.
Stressing that Turkey has reached this point in geothermal energy as a result of good policies and strategies, Şişman said that this success was achieved through public-private cooperation. He also said that Turkey can become the largest geothermal energy producer in the world with government assistance.
He said all the players in the industry are locals. The chairman noted that the use of domestic parts is accompanied by additional contributions, citing that past year three to four power plants benefited from domestic product incentives.
"There was no generator, so we have made the generator investments here so far. In 2018, we will use the domestic generator in the geothermal industry," Şişman said. He added that the two companies whose agreements are about to be finalized will come with domestic producers from the Netherlands and Iceland.
Şişman said the support mechanism to be implemented in the geothermal industry after 2020 needs to be announced very soon. He also stressed that it is necessary to take precautions and deploy support mechanisms today in order to ensure that plant investments that will require at least three years to be installed continue so that they can be commissioned after 2020 as well.