Turkey's main goal in the energy sector is
diversification, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak told a U.S. conference last
"More than half of our electricity
generation is from gas," he told the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in
Houston, Texas. "This can't be sustainable, so we changed this strategy.
"We are aiming to diversify our natural
gas portfolio in the following years."
The last 15 years have seen Turkey's GDP rise
from $200 billion to more than $800 billion, while public debt to GDP ratio
shrunk from 80 percent in 2002 to around 30 percent today.
"You have to invest in energy to meet this
growth and your growth targets," Albayrak said.
"Turkey invested more than $75 billion in
energy during this period... Total installed electricity capacity moved from
approximately 30,000 megawatts in 2002 to almost 80,000 MW right now."
Turkey's average annual electricity growth
currently stands at more than six percent, making it the leading country within
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Albayrak said.
The country is investing heavily in liquid
natural gas and ships to transfer the fuel and has largely moved from the
domestic use of coal to natural gas.
"We ended up having huge diversification
in the last 10-15 years," Albayrak said, referring to the gas market.
"Today, in 78 cities out of 81, we have a gas infrastructure."
Turkey consumed close to 50 billion cubic
meters of natural gas last year, more than half of it from Russia.
"Instead of relying on specific sources,
we are aiming at diversification right now," the minister said. "We
need to increase supply security. This is crucial for the region and for
European markets as well."
Albayrak also explained that energy projects in
Turkey were crucial to regional peace and stability.
"We are working towards bringing gas via
pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to Turkey's internal market and then to
European markets," he added.
Nuclear, sustainable energy
Albayrak said nuclear energy would play a
significant role in energy diversification. Two nuclear plants are currently
under construction at Akkuyu on the Mediterranean coast and Sinop on the Black
"Nuclear should be at least 10 percent of
total electricity generation capacity," he said. "By 2023, the first
reactor on our first nuclear plant will become operational and the second
plant's first reactor will be launched around 2025."
Turkey also has significant potential to
exploit renewable energy sources. Albayrak added.
While the cost of renewable energy has dropped
significantly in recent years, Turkey's investment has increased in these
projects, the minister said. "In 2016, we installed 1,400 megawatts in the
When complete, the Konya-Karapınar Renewable
Energy Resources Area Project is expected to be one of the largest solar farms
in the world, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.
"It will have a 15-year purchase guarantee
without any currency risk," Albayrak said.
"It is a very investment-friendly project.
In mid-summer, we are going to launch a solar and wind tender, with an
additional 1,000 megawatts each. For the next 10 years, we are aiming for at
least 10,000 megawatts each for solar and wind from private business
Albayrak said Turkey aims to get at least
two-thirds of its energy from local sources and invited investors to
participate in the country's energy sector.
"In the last 15 years, most of the private
investors made a significant return on top of their investments," he said.
"We created an investment-friendly
environment that is financially feasible, in which investors, people and the
The conference, bringing together ministers and
officials of oil and natural gas producing countries, as well as officials of
international energy institutions, was held in Houston, Texas.
The conference welcomed many international
figures, including International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih
Birol, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General
Muammed Barkindo, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih as well as
ministers from other OPEC member states.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) Energy Minister
Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, and top
executives from major American energy companies including, ExxonMobil, Chevron
and ConocoPhillips were also in attendance