Vienna, Austria [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Turkey is set to double the amount of its electricity supplied by wind power with the construction of the biggest wind farm to date. The wind farm in southeast Turkey will have an installed capacity of 135 megawatts (MW) when it is completed in 2009.
General Electric (GE) Energy will be supplying 52 of its latest generation of turbines with a capacity of 2.5 MW each.
“Turkey is a fast growing and very interesting market for the wind business of GE,” Frank Hoersting, Communications Leader of GE Energy, Renewable Energy, Europe, told RenewableEnergyAccess.com.
The wind turbines have 3 rotor blades, each with a diameter of 100 meters, and are able to operate at wind speeds as low as 19 mph as well as sweep about 8,000 square meters, the company says, making them 12% more efficient.
But in spite of the huge potential of the Turkish wind power sector—the country is surrounded by the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Sea—so far Turkey has made a slow start in exploiting its wind energy potential.
In 2006, only 19 MW of wind power capacity were installed, and this year, installed wind capacity increased to a little under 140 MW.
There are ten wind farms—mainly on land—clustered together in the west of the country and in the Aegean region, including in Çanakkale, close to the site of ancient Troy, Çeþme, Akhisar and on the island of Bozcaada,
Tanay Sýdký Uyar, Vice President of the World Wind Energy Association and Associate Professor of Renewable Energy at Marmara University, said that Turkey had a huge potential for renewable electricity from wind, solar and geothermal sources. He estimated that Turkey could install a wind capacity of 100,000 MW of electricity.
Currently, Turkey has a total installed capacity of about 40,000 MW for electricity from all energy sources.
“Wind power could supply Turkey’s electricity needs twice over within five to ten years if the government had the political will to develop this sector,” he told RenewableEnergyAccess.com.
However, Uyar said that the government was slow to give licences to build new wind parks.
A backlog of applications to build wind farms with a total operating capacity of 8,000 MW is still waiting for approval from the government. So far the government has issued about 40 licences for wind parks, each with an installed capacity of between 20 and 60 MW.
The country’s capacity for solar energy is also estimated to be huge, with an average of 7.2 hours of sunshine each day, according to the Research Institute for Electricity Affairs (EIEI) in Ankara.
Also, Uyar said that geothermal energy has the potential to supply 5 million households with heating.
In 2005, Turkey passed a new renewable energy law to bring it into line with European Union legislation to support renewable sources, including wind power, by giving a government guarantee to purchase electricity at a set price for a period of 7 years.
But the tariff of about 5 euro cents per kWh of electricity is much lower than in most other European countries, and economic studies say it discourages investment in the renewable energy sector.
“We have terrific geographic conditions for solar and wind power in Turkey. Exploiting it is already economically and technically possible, but the problem is that the government favors fossil fuels and nuclear energy,” Uyar said.
Turkey is locked into long-term agreements to purchase natural gas at fixed prices and also nuclear energy technology and these agreements are a financial disincentive to developing renewable energy, Uyar said.
The government is planning to build 3 nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 4,500 MW by 2012.
Uyar also said that more needed to be done in Turkey to make energy use more efficient.
“There is a huge amount of energy waste. Turkey can cut its electricity needs by 50% if it uses more up-to-date energy efficient technology and so help keep down carbon emissions,” he said.
The share of energy that comes from renewable energy sources in Turkey is tiny. In 2006, the country had an installed biomass capacity of 35 MW and 15 MW of geothermal energy.
In addition, Turkey had an installed capacity of 13,100 MW of hydro power, 38,867 MW of thermal power, 11,850 MW of natural gas, 7,491 MW of lignite, 1,845 MW of hard coal, 2,230 MW of oil.