Turkey will add around 1,000 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity in the near term, according to Energy and Natural Resource Minister Fatih Dönmez.
Taking into account the potential of each city, Turkey will make between 40 and 50 MW capacity solar energy investments, which, similar to the Renewable Energy Resources Zone Areas Projects (YEKA), will be considered through tenders and contain purchase guarantees, Dönmez told Anadolu Agency (AA).
"Through these investments, we will have solar power of around 1,000 megawatts in capacity," the minister noted. By creating a zone from the east of the country to the west to maximize solar exposure, Turkey aims to benefit from uninterrupted generation. The Turkish Renewable Energy Resources Support Mechanism (YEKDEM), which started in 2011, supported solar energy plants at a cost of $0.133 per kilowatt-hour, and wind and hydroelectricity plants at $0.73 per kilowatt-hour. However, the government plans to end this renewable incentive scheme by 2020, and according to Dönmez, the introduction of lower capacity solar plants dispersed throughout the country will be introduced, further details of which will be furnished later in the year.
In October 2018, due to challenges in the financing of large-scale YEKA projects, the energy ministry announced the opening of tenders up to 50 MW instead of the previously offered YEKA tenders up to a total of 1,000 MW. Dönmez acknowledged the considerable progress made in the development of renewable energy resources in Turkey over the past 15 years and said the energy ministry is currently working on this alternative renewables scheme for post 2020 when YEKDEM ends.
"We can observe that some renewable technologies are becoming competitive with conventional energy production facilities. Thus, support may not be needed for some types of [renewable energy] resources and technologies. However, for some renewables sources, the technology has not reached its maturity level yet. Costs have not reached the desired levels. It [support for renewables] can continue for a certain time under certain conditions," he said.
"In this context, of course, legal changes may also be needed," Dönmez said and added, "We will clarify all of these [issues] this year and share it with our investors and citizens." In 2017, through the energy ministry's YEKA tenders, Turkey held a solar tender with a capacity of 1,000 MW with a winning bid price per megawatt-hour of $6.99. Also in 2017, an equivalent capacity wind tender was achieved at $3.49 per megawatt-hour. After hitting 31 percent of renewable electricity production in August 2018, Turkey's authorities took concrete investment steps to revise its renewable target for 2023. Turkey aims to supply 65 percent of energy needs from domestic and renewable sources in 2023, according to the ministry.