In this part of our series Co-benefits Stories, Onat Ülker talks about the positive outcomes of the energy transition for Turkey. For this series, we have asked energy professionals that have participated in our trainings for their thoughts and experiences on co-benefits of renewable energy in their country.
“From the Turkish perspective, the predominant co-benefit that makes the renewable transition appealing is energy-supply security through increased energy diversity. Turkey shares the same geopolitical fate as most of Europe, thus imports fossil fuels to fulfil its ever-increasing energy needs. Therefore, an alternative scheme that could replace fossil reliant consumption to a self-sufficient energy system would surely lead to an exponential increase of sustainable energy projects and their implementation.
Since high rates of employment and associated benefits from renewable electricity development are observed in countries such as Germany, Denmark and Canada, Turkish authorities are interested in promoting the green industry to cope with the inherent unemployment issue in the country. Technological advancement is also needed to switch to a green industry, which poses a challenge for the current business structure, however, Turkey can use that as a means to develop its industry and even export this new technology. Not to mention the advantage of Turkish geography that holds out a wide range of business opportunities for entrepreneurs: solar PV in the South, windmills in the Northwest, and hydroelectric plants in the Northeast.
Lastly, the devastating outgrowth of climate change and pollution damages not only the agricultural industry but also sabotages the tourism sector which makes up the principal seasonal income source for a substantial number of citizens. Renewables may seem inefficacious in restoring the turmoil in the short term. However, accompanying with mitigation efforts, they play the most pivotal role to transform adverse outcomes into a favourable turnaround.”
Based on insights of the COBENEFITS research group, the Renewables Academy (RENAC) currently conducts trainings in Turkey, Kenya, South Africa and Mexico. Participants learn about co-benefits of renewable energy in climate change mitigation, tools to quantify and communicate social and economic opportunities and policies and instruments to mobilise them.