A close look at energy policies
Unfortunately, the most recent figures I could find on the International Energy Agency (IEA) website belong to 2008 and according to them, Turkey in that year consumed energy that corresponds to a total of 99 million tons of oil.
This indeed is the country’s total energy consumption. In other words, from the fuels of trucks and cars to the natural gas we use at home to cook or heat meals, to electricity we consume at home and industry, everything is included in this.
Turkey imports 72 percent of the energy it uses. This is the reason why we have an incredibly high current account deficit.
Moreover, we must be consuming more energy today than 2008, because our economy has grown since then and exactly because of this, the rate of our imported energy must have also increased. In other words, as we want economic development and more prosperity, our external dependency in energy has also increased.
I am not here to chant full independence slogans; in today’s world there is nothing such as 100 percent independence. We live in a world of mutual dependencies.
Nevertheless, again, energy dependency of 72 percent is very high. It is very natural for any government that loves its country to work to decrease this dependency rate.
Turkey has also been talking about decreasing the dependency rate for many years and, at the same time, is trying to guarantee its own energy supply. To this end, from the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline to the Blue Stream, to the Nabucco natural gas pipeline, many things have been done. At the essence of our Syria and Iraq policies, which is currently occupied with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), actually lies the energy supply assurance.
I wrote about solar and wind energy the other day and criticized the government for not supporting these two adequately. I will again write about them, focusing on electricity production.
A figure from the IEA website again, this time a more recent one: Turkey in 2013 consumed 236,139 GW/h electricity. The lion’s share of this, 163,098 GW/h, was obtained from thermal power plants burning coal, natural gas and fuel-oil (69 percent). Nearly one-fourth of the electricity, 58,274 GW/h, came from our hydroelectric power plants. The electricity obtained from wind, solar or geothermal resources was 8,563 GW/h, in other words 4 percent. We also imported 7,425 GW/h of electricity but because we also exported 1,232 GW/h of electricity, our net import stayed at around 3 percent of our total consumption.
Production from wind, solar and geothermal sources in Germany in 2013 corresponded to 15 percent of total consumption, 25 percent in Spain, 12 percent in Greece and 34 percent in Denmark.
As you can understand, Turkey has a long way to go urgently.
Germany’s land is no cheaper than Turkey’s
In my article on Wednesday, I mentioned the record-breaking solar energy production in the summer months in Germany and the United Kingdom last year. In Germany, on June 9, during afternoon hours, the electricity obtained from the sun reached 23.1 GW/h, breaking a record. This was more than half of the country’s consumption at that moment.
Germany produces this much electricity through micro methods installed in the roofs and walls of houses and through medium- and large-sized facilities installed in sun fields. They have very interesting pricing and incentive systems to obtain energy from wind and sun.
Do not forget: The prices of empty fields in Germany that have plenty of sun are not any cheaper than Turkey’s empty lands that receive plenty of sunshine. But Germany is able to set up solar fields in those lands nevertheless.
Turkey has been saying for years that whoever wishes to produce electricity in their houses can do so and sell their surplus to the system, but I have not seen a house where this has been applied. Maybe there are some but no doubt their numbers are very few.
Besides, installing a solar energy system producing electricity in a house has a cost; we should be able to find such an incentive method that these solar panels would be able to recoup their costs within three to four years.