Integration of Renewable Energy into the Turkish Electricity System

Integration of Renewable Energy into the Turkish Electricity System

The Turkish power system has undergone a remarkable transformation over the past two decades. To meet rapidly rising demand driven by a growing economy and population, Turkey began restructuring its power system in 2001. The liberalization and privatization of the electricity market allowed for private entities to participate in power generation, distribution and supply with the long-term view towards promoting energy security through increasing domestic production capacity and reducing overall power system costs. Initially, these reforms resulted in significant investments into conventional fossil-fuels. Heavily dependent on imports for natural gas, a mainstay fuel in Turkey’s energy mix since the late 1980s, the country has sought to reduce its vulnerability to imported gas by promoting the exploitation of domestic resources and technologies.

Yet, the rapid development of renewable energy resources has represented the vanguard of Turkey’s diversification of its power generation mix. Hydropower played a leading role by covering roughly one-third of total power generation over the past two decades. The past decade, however, has witnessed a mercurial rise of wind and solar power generation. While new investments must be made in solar, wind and other low-carbon technologies, additional focus on the evolution and role of transmission networks is paramount.

This study assesses the potential impacts to Turkey’s transmission grid network that could arise due to an accelerated transformation of the power system that is focused predominately on variable renewable energies. It models the evolution of the Turkish power grid, investigates potential operational challenges, and puts a particular focus on the system integration of variable renewables. This assessment represents a revision and update to SHURA’s 2018 study, which employed a similar methodology, but assessed the impacts of a doubling of variable renewable energy capacity from 20 GW to 40 GW by 2026.

April 2022

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