Improving people’s health and unburdening the health system through renewable energy in Turkey

Coal- and nat­ur­al gas-fired pow­er plants in Turkey are sig­nif­i­cant sources of atmos­pher­ic emis­sions that are harm­ful to people’s health and the envi­ron­ment. This study analy­ses the impacts of the pol­lu­tants CO, SO2, NO2, and PM10 on human health. Turkey’s need for elec­tric­i­ty will con­tin­ue to increase in the com­ing years. Recog­nis­ing that coal- and nat­ur­al gas-fired elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­a­tion are major con­trib­u­tors to atmos­pher­ic pol­lu­tants and relat­ed health impacts, it is evi­dent that an increased share of renew­able ener­gy in elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­a­tion would help lessen the prob­lems of air pol­lu­tion and reduce costs for the Turk­ish health system.




Key policy opportunities:

Pol­i­cy oppor­tu­ni­ty 1: Turkey can sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce the num­ber of pre­ma­ture deaths relat­ed to air pol­lu­tion from fos­sil-fuelled pow­er plants. Under the cur­rent pol­i­cy, mor­tal­i­ty can be expect­ed to increase from 2,100 cas­es in 2017 to more than 2,300 cas­es in 2028. By fol­low­ing an ambi­tious decar­bon­i­sa­tion path­way (Advanced Renew­ables Sce­nario B), esti­mat­ed mor­tal­i­ty would be reduced to less than 1,600 cas­es in 2028, thus avoid­ing more than 750 deaths in that year alone.

Pol­i­cy oppor­tu­ni­ty 2: Turkey can sig­nif­i­cant­ly unbur­den its health sys­tem by decar­bon­is­ing the pow­er sec­tor: Under the cur­rent pol­i­cy, annu­al health-relat­ed costs can be expect­ed to increase from USD 2.15 bil­lion in 2017 to USD 2.5 bil­lion in 2028. By fol­low­ing an ambi­tious decar­bon­i­sa­tion path­way (Advanced Renew­ables Sce­nario B), health cost sav­ings in 2028 can amount to USD 800 mil­lion in this year alone.

Pol­i­cy oppor­tu­ni­ty 3: The Min­istry of Ener­gy can sup­port mea­sures to track progress in reduc­ing health impacts and relat­ed health costs by ensur­ing access to air pol­lu­tant emis­sion data from indi­vid­ual pow­er plants, detail­ing the rel­e­vant fuel, tech­no­log­i­cal, and emis­sion con­trol stan­dards. Pub­lic mon­i­tor­ing and tech­ni­cal analy­sis of pow­er plants can improve the qual­i­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty of air pol­lu­tion and health cost assess­ments. This can be facil­i­tat­ed by pub­lic access to tech­ni­cal data on ther­mal pow­er plants, such as fil­tra­tion meth­ods, com­bus­tion tech­niques, water con­sump­tion, fuel usage, and atmos­pher­ic pol­lu­tion releases.



Suggest­ed cita­tion: IASS/IPC. 2020. Improv­ing people’s health and unbur­den­ing the health sys­tem through renew­able ener­gy in Turkey. Assess­ing the co-ben­e­fits of decar­bon­is­ing the pow­er sec­tor. COBENEFITS Report. Potsdam/Istanbul.

This study is part of a series of four stud­ies assess­ing the co-ben­e­fits of decar­bon­is­ing the pow­er sec­tor in Turkey, edit­ed by IASS, IPC, EPRA and IET.