Why no investments are made for solar energy

Why no investments are made for solar energy

As of the end of 2012, Turkey had the capacity for 57,059-megawatt electricity production. Out of this, 35,027 was from thermal power plants, 19,609 from hydroelectric power plants, 162.2 from geothermal resources and 2,260 from wind turbines.

This is why there is pressure for excessive production in our country’s coal mines and, for this reason, the life and health of workers are neglected. We obtain nearly 70 percent of our electricity from thermal power plants, a significant portion of which operate with coal.

Our entire installed capacity is 57,000 megawatts as of end of 2012, but Germany’s installed power obtained only from solar energy through photo-voltaic panels was 39,000 in the summer months of 2014. Again, Germany has installed the capacity of 29,000 megawatts from wind energy.

Actually, producing energy from wind is a relatively new topic. It is not that Germany started this business before us; the technology was present for both countries at the same time and at the same price. Likewise, solar energy was the same: Germany looks as if it is ahead, but had Turkey wished, it could have also made the same investments at the same time. 

Instead of this, we burnt imported natural gas, heated the water and produced electricity with the vapor of this water; thus setting up “environmentalist” thermal power plants. To encourage the private sector to invest in these natural gas plants, we gave assurance to purchase electricity for long terms.

If we had given the same purchase assurances for solar and wind energy, then today our installed capacity could have been at Germany’s level; thus decreasing our current account deficit from energy imports. Or maybe we could have been exporting electricity, like Germany and Denmark.

We still can; the opportunity still exists. But unfortunately, our minds are not focused there.

No lines for wind and solar

We refer to them as “Turkey is building nuclear power plants.” Actually this sentence has to be used very carefully.

A Russian company is building the nuclear power plant. Then they will manage it and the power plant will always belong to them. We, on the other hand, will only buy the electricity produced there.

A special law was enacted for nuclear power plants. Thanks to this law, electricity purchase guarantees were also provided to wind and solar energy power plants, in other words incentives were offered for them also. Even though the sector considers the level of this incentive low, they are now able to find finances because of this for the new power plants to be built.

This is the situation, but unfortunately, hundreds of license applications are waiting at the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK).

Why do you think they are waiting? Yes, true, some of them have missing documents and some of them could not fully finance themselves, but we know that a vast majority of them are ready in all respects. The EPDK will license 27 of them because Turkey’s energy transmission lines are not yet suitable for this newly created capacity.

Power transmission lines will immediately be prepared for the nuclear power plant apparently, but when you want to produce electricity from wind and the sun, they say, “We do not have a power transmission line at the place where you want to build your plant.” Investments are held back.

Meanwhile, the news of deaths keeps coming from coal mines, one after the other.