Can we succeed in energy transformation?
Dr. Değer Saygın, director of Shura Energy Transformation Center, which was founded in May to support Turkey’s energy transformation, is hopeful.
“We have a good potential to actualize energy transformation. We can increase the installed wind and solar energy capacity to 40,000 MW until 2026,” he said.
Shura has three founding partners: The European Climate Foundation (ECF), Agora Energiewende, which is the leading think-tank in the field of energy in Germany, and the Istanbul Policy Center (IPC) of Sabancı University.
Its name is a combination of the Middle Eastern primordial god of air, Shu, and the god of sun, Ra. And it is a homonym with the Arabic word for multilateral consultation platform.
Indeed, the consultative committee of Shura Energy Transformation Center brings together leaders from the investment, finance, technology worlds alongside representatives from academia, think-tanks and NGOs.
Saygın worked at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) between 2013 and 2017, developing the Global Renewable Energy Roadmap of IRENA.
“We aim at creating a common ground to discuss energy transformation through research and analysis assessing Turkey’s energy sector in terms of economy, technology and politics,” he told me.
Similar projects have been implemented in countries such as Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, and Poland with support from the ECF and Agora Energiewende, he said.
Agora Energiewende, founded in Berlin in 2012, is among the prominent energy transformation institutions in Germany and in the European Union, providing technical know-how.
It has had an important role in making Germany a solar energy champion despite limited number of sunny days in a year.
Saygın mentioned two factors in energy transformation: Energy efficiency and renewable energy.
He refers to their renewable energy analysis announced at the opening of Shura in May, saying that it is the first study focusing on the integration of the renewables into the electric distribution network across Turkey.
“The results of this study excite us because it shows that the increase in wind and solar energy can be doubled without any additional cost to the Turkish Electricity Transmission Corporation’s investment projections until 2026,” he said.
Thus, increasing the installed wind and solar energy power to 40,000 MW by 2026 will not bring any burden onto the national electric grid.
“The detailed study on the development of renewable energy can shed light on high-scale transformation in Turkey’s energy system,” Saygın explained.
In my opinion, it is a breakthrough for the system operator, public institutions, energy sector planners and investors,” he added.
Saygın also emphasized that Turkey needs to boost its performance in order to bring its energy sector to a low-carbon level, saying that “with an annual increase of 1 percent, only 7 percent of Turkey’s total electric production is sourced via wind and solar energy.”
He also stated that the rate of 7 percent means employing 90,000 people, hence renewables are important for employment.