TURKEY COULD EXPORT RENEWABLES REGIONALLY: IEA HEAD
Turkey could be the exporter of renewable energy technologies and know-how to Middle Eastern, the Caucuses and African markets if the country can successfully achieve its Renewable Energy Resource Zones projects and increase its potential, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) told Anadolu Agency.
Turkey, with its limited domestic resources and dependency on expensive energy imports, is striving to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix. The country launched an initiative, the Renewable Energy Resource Zones, to increase investments in electricity generation from the renewables. Last year, the country had tenders for 1,000 megawatts of solar and 1,000 megawatts of wind as a part of this initiative, of which the prices per megawatt hour were $6.99 and $3.48, respectively.
IEA Executive Director, Dr. Fatih Birol, said in a recent interview that the model of Renewable Energy Resource Zones is perfect for utilizing Turkey’s renewable potential, especially in solar and wind.
“Renewables are not only good for Turkey in terms of climate change targets but also in terms of energy security because the more Turkey has renewables in the mix, the less it will be dependent on imports which largely contribute to the country’s current account deficit,” he said.
Also, the costs of renewables are falling and this could enable more investments, he said.
“That was actually one of my dreams that Turkey, while importing gas and oil from the Middle East, could export renewable energy technologies, know-how and investment to its region. Even though the Middle East has the highest solar potential in the world, the countries here do not have enough experience to utilize this potential,” Birol explained. “Thus, I think Turkey could play a significant role in terms of exports to the Middle East and the Caucuses. Africa, too, could be a very good export market for Turkey,” he said.
Climate change targets at risk
Birol said these steps in bolstering Turkey’s renewables expansion is also helping the efforts to tackle climate change, as the energy sector is the largest contributor to emissions.
Birol said that global emissions of carbon dioxide are not falling or even remaining stable but instead, continue to rise. “At IEA, when we look at the data for the first 11 months of 2018, we see that global emissions of carbon dioxide are going to hit at historic highs. Thus, I do not want to say yet that it is impossible to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement but it is getting harder,” Birol concluded.