Turkey's energy developments in 2020: Energy Minister

Turkey's renewable installed power in 2020 outpaces total renewable installed power of 21 countries in Europe, says Minister

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Turkey has seen a massive rise, exceeding 95%, in the share of renewable resources out of total installed capacity commissioned in Turkey this year, the country’s energy minister announced on Wednesday.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez said the ratio of renewable resources in total installed power reached an all-time high at 51.21% and exceeded that of 21 countries in Europe.

He lauded this boost in renewable energy in 2020, which saw the country’s installed power increase by 4,500 megawatts to 95,500 megawatts.

He noted on April 12 that solar and wind energy met 34% of the total production on an hourly basis, and on May 24, 90% of electricity generation was met from domestic and renewable resources.

"On June 5, we realized the maximum daily unlicensed generation and on Sept. 3, our electricity production exceeded 1 billion kilowatt-hours, breaking the all-time record. The month was one in which wind generated the most energy. We surpassed our record of 151.33 gigawatts on Nov. 6 with 153.04 gigawatts on Nov. 25," Donmez said.

- Black Sea gas discovery

He hailed the natural gas discovery in the Black Sea by the Fatih drillship as one of the most important developments in 2020.

Turkey first announced the discovery by the Fatih drillship of 320 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas reserves in the Tuna-1 location in the Sakarya gas field on Aug. 21, to bring the total capacity up to 405 bcm.

"The news that our nation has been waiting for a long time came with hope and joy,” he said, adding that exploration would continue in the Sakarya gas field.

Drilling will continue in the first months of the New Year with one of the country’s three drillships, Kanuni, following preparations at the Filyos Port on the Black Sea coast, he said.

- Turkey-Libya deal

Although this year witnessed many highs with the outstanding results from exploration and drilling, there were also lows with the great struggle both on the field and on the table to protect the rights and law in the ‘Blue Homeland’, a term synonymous with Ankara’s maritime claims in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Donmez recalled that in early 2020, the backwash continued from the maritime jurisdiction agreement signed with Libya on Nov. 27, 2019, between Ankara and Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The pact, which was registered with the United Nations, upset many countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, the Greek Cypriot Administration, Eygpt and Israel, which already signed a controversial maritime alliance, excluding Turkey.

The Greek Cypriot administration unilaterally declared so-called exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and began to give licenses to international energy companies to search for energy resources.

Turkey has called for the resources around Cyprus to be equally shared between all parties, including the Turkish Cypriot Administration, and is insistent that it is open to dialogue to resolve these issues.

"Efforts of countries that try to exclude Turkey are just futile. Turkey is always in favor of dialogue to solve problems," Donmez stressed.


- New FSRU to start operations in New Year

The first week of 2020 witnessed the commissioning of the TurkStream natural gas pipeline. Out of the total 31.5 bcm, half, or 15.75 bcm, was sent to Turkey while the other half was transferred to Europe.

Donmez relayed the efforts made to develop the country’s gas sector in 2020 and revealed further plans for the New Year.

"We strengthened Turkey's natural gas infrastructure with storage, FSRU [Floating Storage and Regasification Unit] and LNG investments. The final stage has been reached in Turkey's new FSRU vessel 'Ertugrul Gazi'. It will come to Turkey after the beginning of the year and will provide much flexibility in our natural gas supply security," Donmez said.

The new FSRU vessel, Ertugrul Gazi, will be the third in the country, joining one in Hatay, and another privately-owned vessel in Izmir.

Ertugrul Gazi, owned by Turkey’s state-owned crude oil and natural gas pipelines and trading company, Botas, will connect to facilities in Hatay, in the south of the country by the New Year and come onstream.

The vessel has an LNG storage capacity of 170 thousand cubic meters, equivalent to 102 million cubic meters in gas form.


-Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant

Donmez relayed that work is continuing at full speed to bring the first reactor at the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant online by 2023. This year, he said the reactor container of the first unit along with four steam generators was brought onsite this year.

Progress was also made with the laying of the foundation for the reactor building of the second unit and with the installation of one of the most important parts, the core arrester.

Donmez confirmed that an application was made for the construction license of the fourth unit, having obtained one for the third unit.