Old challenges for a new RES technology development path in Turkey.
Turkey is in the process of welcoming a higher share of renewable energy generation in its generation fleet. The aim of the Government is to have a more sustainable electricity generation mix but also to achieve a self-energy-security. Turkey is at the beginning of the renewable energy sources (RES) development and this is clear by looking at the actual generation mix. At the end of 2016, if we do not consider the Hydropower generation, the share of RES stands at only 10% of the total generation. And taking into consideration the impressive potential of solar power generation in the country, only 832.5MW are so far in operation.
Turkey Generation Fleet at the End of 2016
This article briefly stigmatizes Turkish strategy on developing RES and the problems that are holding back the country in having a rapid but smooth RES technology development. The relevant aspects debated have been and are the most common issues that a country need to address when standing at the stage of boosting RES deployment.
The milestone for RES development and strategy, in Turkey, is the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP), carried out by the Government of Turkey, through the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. This document together with what TEIAS, the TSO, is stating on RES development, do not have a long-term outlook that goes beyond 2023.
To this regard, Turkey should have greater consistency in the setting, evaluation and commitment for the adoption of targets, and sector-specific targets for electricity, heat and transport that could foster growth of renewable energy across the economy. In this regard, longer-term targets provide for the continuity of policies and support a stable investment environment.
Another issue is the promotion mechanism that in Turkey finalizes in 2020. It is a generous support mechanism that has helped the country to develop RES but Turkey should move forward and modify it to facilitate RES development and trying to avoid a waste of resources. Perhaps, restructuring the auctions mechanism that is already partially present in the system. To this regard, for instance, the actual FiT mechanism has a price at 133USD/MWh for Solar power plants, the recent Karapinar 1GW solar PV project has been awarded at a price of 69,9 USD/kWh.
In Turkey, it is also envisaged to complement the support mechanism with specific regulation for small scale project boosting prosumers phenomena that is currently negligible and, as in other international experiences, it is the key step to help the country in achieving its RES targets.
Starting the construction of a licensed power plant in Turkey, generally takes at least 24 months, which is also the pre-license period. The main time-consuming tasks are the Environmental Impact Assessment Report and the Zoning Permits. Because in these processes, many institutions are involved and a negative opinion of an institution halts all the process.
Also, Turkey has significant issues related to Variable Renewable Energy integration that need to be solved to enable the grid to welcome a bigger stake of RES. The parameters that are affecting VRE integration in Turkey are:
Transmission and distribution network planning are also two activities that need to be standardized and be compliant with the best international practices because are key activities for a country to achieve the specified targets without neglecting the reliability of the system. Also, the operation of the network need to be shaped according to some rules that will regulate and organize the control and coordination between the TSO and the DSO for curtailment of RES power plants. As stated before, it is expected a significant increase in the amount and number of solar and wind generation facilities, connected both at HV and distribution levels. It is necessary, therefore, that Turkey adapts the control tools at both levels, HV and MV, being sure that this aspect does not constitute a barrier for their actual deployment.
MRC has been present in different countries with different characteristics, supporting ministries and utilities in addressing key aspects that are fundamental for RES generation development in the electricity system.
As per the example above, important topics, to this regard, thus are as a first, the country policy developed for the energy mix and the system governance, the regulatory aspects like support mechanism, incentives for self-consumption and distributed generation without neglecting the obligation to eliminate any existing regulatory uncertainty. Secondly, network planning issues at transmission and distribution level are heavily impacted by the RES deployment and frequently face new challenges. This aspect, also, cope with the network operation and network connection procedures. Finally, but not less important, permitting and licensing period, transparency and financing standardization may be reformulated to diminish the sector risks.
 Although the common intention is to boost the RES technology deployment, there are contradictions and different targets in the official documents that set the Turkish RES targets and published in different timeframes (e.g. the one published by the MENR and those published by TEIAS).
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