30 Apr

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Energy Policy in Turkey

Turkey’s energy demand has increased over the years and Turkey’s importance in world energy market has been growing both as a regional energy transit hub and as a consumer. Turkey is dependent on natural gas imports due to rise of domestic consumption each year. Because Turkey aims to decrease in dependence on foreign sources, renewable energy projects have been highly attractive for several years. Today, Turkey has a high renewable energy resources (RES) potential. In the recent years, despite the increase in number of renewable energy projects, it has not reached to the expected number yet. Turkey has highly wind, solar, geothermal energy potential. In addition, Turkey has also highly biogas potential. Turkey’s energy consumption has been gradually increasing and this situation makes Turkey dependent on foreign sources year after year.  For instance, in 2000, when Turkey’s consumption of energy was almost 76 million tons (million tons of oil equivalent), in 2008 this rate was over 101 million tons and imported energy demand is today over 70 %. Turkey’s fundamental energy resources are lignite (brown coal), hydro-electric and biomass energy. Electricity is mostly produced by the power plants which consume coal, lignite (brown coal), natural gas or fuel oil. Geothermal and hydro-electric powers are other important energy resources in Turkey. Besides wind, solar, geothermal energy projects, Turkey now is turning towards biogas energy.

Biogas Energy in Turkey

Biogas is a flammable gas that is made from organic matter and produced natural fermentation process using materials such as farm waste, biomass, sewage and plant matter. Biogas is made in digesters which called mainly fixed dome, floating drum or balloon. Biogas are mainly procured from animal livestock (e.g. manure from cattle or manure from poultry) agricultural areas (e.g. straw of cereals, sugar beet leaf or tomato waste) and residues from food, fruits and vegetables (e.g. press cake of sugar beet, olive press cake).   Today, Turkey has the potential of 2.000 biogas plants which will operate in animal waste. There are thirty six of eighty five biogas plants in-service in several geographical locations. Most biogas plants are located in the west side of Turkey (e.g. Istanbul, Kocaeli)

Biogas Potential and Incentives

Turkey is one of the livestock and agricultural zone in the world therefore has a large biogas potential more than European Countries.

According to researches, animal wastes are more than eighty five million tons and have potential of over 1.8 million tons of oil equivalent (toe) and with plantal waste included the potential raises over 5.3 million tons of oil equivalent (toe). Under the Electricity Market License Regulation, license application in order to produce electricity by a renewable energy resources plant, only 1 % percentage of pre-license fee would be paid and these plants are exempt from license fee for the first eight-year period. In addition, investment transactions until 31.12.2012 for a renewable energy resources plant are exempt from stamp tax and fees. Besides, investors can take several investment supports from Technology Development Foundation of Turkey (TTGV), The Sustainable Energy Financing Facilities (SEFFs) or French Development Bank (AFD) to built or invest in a renewable energy resources plant.

Legal Framework

The European Union has several legislations regarding waste management and the most important one is Landfill Directive. The United States has Clean Air Act and Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in order to protect environment and help incite in recycling waste. Turkey has also several legislations regarding biogas applications in accordance with European Union Legislation such as Renewable Energy Law, Environmental Law, and Communiqué on Solid Waste Management and General Rules on Solid Waste Management. Renewable Energy Law No.5346 entered into force on the purpose of electric power production by renewable energy resources on 10 May 2005. The main goal of the law is to use renewable energy resources in order to produce electricity, decrease greenhouse gas emission, increase studies on waste products and protect environment. After final amendments in the Renewable Energy Law, landfill gas is described as a type of renewable energy. A communiqué on General Rules of Waste Management is entered into force and published in Official Gazette on 5 July 2008. The main purpose of the communiqué is protecting the environment from harmful effects of waste. Unfortunately, biomass is not included in the communiqué but the communiqué brings some incentives to companies for instance the companies that want to establish or operate their own waste water treatment facility.

There are not any communiqués or legislation in regard to management or usage of digestate (Digestate refers the material remaining after the anaerobic digestion of a biodegradable feedstock). However, legislative efforts continue in Turkey for a new law which includes biogas and biogas management.


Herdem Law Firm, Istanbul Turkey

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