In a written statement released yesterday, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım elaborated on the contribution of hydroelectric power plants (HPP) into Turkey's economy and energy demands. HPPs, he said, narrows Turkey's current account deficit largely caused by energy imports and the government plants to increase the power generation to 110 billion kilowatt hours (KW) by 2019. In accordance with that goal, the prime minister highlighted that HPPs, which constitute a strong element of the Turkish energy industry, will continue to be successfully built by public and private support.
The 11-month period of 2017 saw the fiercest drought of the last 44 years, yet the HPPs managed to generate 53 billion KW, which made a TL 8.7 billion contribution to the Turkish economy.
The prime minister underscored that energy sustains its importance at the national and international level and is the sine qua non for a strong Turkey. He pointed out that the growth of the domestic energy sector comes second after China in the global ranking.
Domestic demand for energy has recorded the fastest growth in the world over the last 10 years, Yıldırım noted and said, "By 2023, Turkey's energy demand will double the current figures."
Referring to Turkey's external dependency for energy, Yıldırım said, "With a goal to ensure solid, balanced and sustainable energy strategy, Turkey continues its investments in the sector. Our goal is to decrease the dependency on external resource."
Turkey is the fastest growing country in Europe in terms of energy supply capacity, the prime minister highlighted. Yıldırım also emphasized that hydroelectric potential, a significant component of Turkey's energy mix, will be sufficiently utilized.
"In order to increase the capacity of HPPs, which makes use of domestic and renewable resources, both the public and private sectors are continuously at work," the noted.
The successive governments of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have brought into operation 513 HPPs in a 14 year period from 2003 to 2017. The total power capacity established by those HPPs is 15,086 MW and the annual power capacity has reached 95.1 billion KW thanks to partnership with private sector. This amount of energy saved TL 15 billion from energy imports.
The prime minister also indicated that Turkey is a country that imports energy and its energy demand is increasing with each passing day. Therefore, he added, implementing HPP projects for Turkey was a necessity.
Noting that the country's electricity consumption in 2016 was around 278.4 billion kWh, Yıldırım said about 67 billion kWh of the said figure was met from the electricity generated from hydroelectric power plants.
"Thus, $2.5 billion of natural gas imports were prevented. Therefore, HPPs contribute positively to the closure of our current account deficit. By 2019, we will increase our energy production to 110 billion kWh, reducing the current deficit," the prime minister added.
In the last 10 years, the capacity of HPPs increased more than two fold, Yıldırım noted, and said that the increase was particularly fostered by the establishment of HPPs in Ermenek, Deriner, Akköprü, Alpaslan, Borçka and Obruk.
The annual contribution of the visionary projects to the economy will be about TL 2 billion.
Yıldırım said that among the ongoing dam projects, 1,200 MW "Ilısu Dam and HPP" and 558 MW "Yusufeli Dam and HPP" will have an important role in meeting the energy demand of Turkey.
Yıldırım noted that when "Ilısu Dam and HPP" with an actual realization of around 95 percent is completed, it will generate an average of 4.1 billion kilowatt-hours of energy a year, while "Yusufeli Dam and HPP" with an actual realization of 65 percent is expected to produce an average of 1.9 billion kilowatt-hours of energy per year, adding that the Ilısu Dam and Yusufeli Dams will respectively contribute approximately $412 million and TL 450 million to the country's economy per year from electrical energy production.
Yıdırım said there have been arguments about HPP projects from time to time. "HPP is a type of renewable and environmentally friendly energy production. Turkey failed to sufficiently utilize its hydroelectric potential," Yıldırım continued, recalling that with the feasibility studies they conducted, the AK Party governments have realized that investing in this form of energy production will be a plus for Turkey. "Thus, thanks to the investments we have made, we have been able to increase the share of environmentally friendly and domestic energy," he said. The Prime Minister also added that HPP projects have provided about 13,500 jobs to date.