Turkey's significant wind potential, its growing economy and increasing energy demand is leading the country to progress well in wind power, a Siemens official said Tuesday.
"In 2014, Turkey's capacity reached 804 megawatts, and one gigawatt is planned for 2015 which is an important milestone showing the maturity of the market," said Markus Tacke CEO of Siemens Wind Power and Renewables to The Anadolu Agency.
He said that a sustainable one gigawatt capacity market does not attract only suppliers like Siemens but also attracts foreign investors, consultants, financial institutes and other stakeholders.
However, he said there is some room for improvement. He cited the long bureaucratic procedures during the permit phase may discourage some investors, although he said there has been an improvement compared to the past few years.
"In order to achieve the 2023 goal of 20 gigawatt capacity which is set by the Turkish Government, there should be continuity in the projects pipeline. It requires continuous release of licenses," he emphasized and added that after licenses are granted, the permit process should not be an obstacle in front of investors.
"All the permits should be taken of course, however the process and the time it takes to get the permits should be more predictable," he added.
He said the Turkish energy market is perfectly transparent and added that due to the licensing process, it is possible to see upcoming projects clearly. However he said that seeing a project does not necessarily mean that the project will be executed due to the long and unpredictable permit phase.
"The market has grown at least 25 percent annually in the last five years. There are very strong Turkish and foreign investors who are willing to invest in the Turkish energy market", he said.
"Turkey is a growing market and mature enough with all existing stakeholders and obviously this is a great advantage for Turkey," he added.
- Energy Union will provide more harmonization, predictability and less regularity risk
Commenting on the European Commission's “Energy Union”, Tacke said that the union can offer many benefits to the renewable energy industry and to investors.
He said that the greatest barriers to investment are uncertainty. Additionally, he said the European energy market needs more harmonization, more predictability and less regulatory risk (e.g. no retroactive changes).
"The Energy Union’s proposals will help to address these," he added.
He said that the current electricity and gas markets are all about short-term pricing, but do not provide any long-term investment incentives.
"A more integrated energy market will encourage investment, particularly in companies that compete globally," he said.
The EU currently imports more than half its energy – often from unstable regions and at high prices. Tacke said this cannot continue and urged for better co-ordination between policymakers to increase technical and market integration, drive competition, encourage investment in order to enhance Europe’s energy security.
"Energy security is growing in importance in many parts of the world. An integrated European energy policy will bring Europe closer to this goal. The challenge will be to translate the Energy Union’s goals into tangible policies," he emphasized.
- Reliance on fossil fuels is risky
Tacke asserted that despite having enough oil, natural gas and coal to supply our energy needs for years to come, reliance on fossil fuels has tremendous risks and costs.
"Renewable energy is reliable, and is completely under domestic control," he said.
The environmental damage being done by fossil fuels is well documented. American economic and social theorist, Jeremy Rifkin recently said, "We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change, and the last that can do anything about it."
"We will soon reach the point where fossil fuels are more expensive than renewable energy sources. In some regions onshore wind power is already cheaper than new conventional energy, and we are confident that wind power will be increasingly cost-competitive worldwide in the coming years," Tacke said.
"When you factor in all of the advantages of renewable energy, the move away from fossil fuels will become a stampede. That’s not science fiction, that’s reality" he said, and added "we must continue to work hard to convince policy-makers and the public of the advantages of renewable energy."
According to Tacke, Turkey is a good example of a country that has made a strong commitment to renewable energy and to wind power with the First National Renewable Energy Action Plan which aims to increase Turkey’s renewable energy generation capacity to 61 gigawatts by 2023 mostly through hydro, wind and solar.
"We have to celebrate steps like this and actively support them," he added.
By Gulsen Cagatay