01 Oct

Whether for heating or for electricity generation, energy is one of the indispensable resources in the world which plays an essential role in the politics as well as in the economy of a country. Within the increasing population and industrial developments in the world, there has been a growth in energy demand. According to the statistics, the gross energy consumption has been 245,5 billion kWh in Turkey in 2013, which has been increased since 2012. In spite of developments in energy production, the energy gap and import dependency cannot be overcome. Newly, the options for reduction of energy import dependency and of energy supply security through renewable energy resources has been discussed.

Energy supply security with regard to the primary energy sources

A result of import dependency in energy is the existence of an energy supply security risk. As is known, a big part of energy is produced from primary sources and on the first place of which the natural gas is placed. Most of natural gas has been imported and its amount may vary depending on the temperature changes, political or technical factors. Many countries in the European Union zone have overcome such risk by developing the natural gas storage facilitiesDue to the storage of the natural gas, the natural gas supply and maintenance of natural gas prices in all circumstances is guaranteed. Regarding the storage of primary energy resources, Turkey has been working in natural gas storage projects and the natural gas legislation requires to prove the sufficient storage capacity in order to obtain supplier license. However, compared to the European Union countries, the current natural gas storage capacity of Turkey is low, but in a growth.

Storage of the renewable energy towards energy turnarouond

As mentioned above, energy storage is possible for primary energy resources, especially for natural gas. Despite this, the most important question is the storage of produced renewable energy. As is known, numerous countries have been in a change in energy production by using renewable resources in energy production. Since primary energy sources are exhaustible and have risks such as environmental pollution, it is intended to increase the energy production from renewables, natural and clean energy resources. Within this scope, Germany has been in an energy transition since 2010 beginning of which dates back to 1970s. Accordingly, the energy production from renewables has been supported whereas the number of nuclear power plants has been minimized. During all these changes in energy and environmental policy in the world, the question how to storage the produced and/or surplus produced energy has come to the fore. In this regard, it is discussed if the renewable energy might be storaged in order to prevent the energy fluctuations. Recently, the biggest electricity storage facility of Europe has been opened in Germany which has a storage capacity of 5 MW. This can be regarded as a major step forward in energy supply security and also in environment protection.

Why to store the energy?

The energy supply security is not the solely reason of energy storage. Different technologies and methodes for energy storage have been developped in order to provide energy quality and reliability, to prevent uncontrolled energy production, to prevent the installation requirement of additional transmission networks, to minimize the energy import dependency as well as to use the energy resources efficiently. In some countries, investments in storage of renewable energy are supported by official institutions or governments.

The situation in Turkey and future prospects

Turkish Law requires the existence of storage capacity for certain market activity licenses in natural gas sector. The natural gas storage has also been supported due to incentives. However, storage of electricity manufactured from renewables has not come to the fore yet. If the renewable energy potential and the target to increase the share of renewable energy resources and to minimize the energy import dependency of Turkey is considered, the storage of renewable energy would be regarded as an important development for electricity market.

Herdem Law Firm, Istanbul Turkey

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