Securing energy independence in Turkey

Onat Ülk­er, par­tic­i­pant of the COBENEFITS Online Train­ing Turkey

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.