By Rufiz Hafizoglu
No matter how much Turkey tries, today it can’t get rid of its energy dependence. The country’s problem lies in that it imports about 90 percent of its consumed coal, 93 percent of its oil and nearly 97 percent of its natural gas.
Turkey’s power plants generate 47 percent of the electricity using the natural gas it imports, mainly coming from Russia, while about 28 percent of the electricity is produced using the local and imported coal.
Meanwhile, the water power plants produce only 18 percent of the electricity needed, and the remaining 7 percent is generated by its wind power plants.
Turkey also imports electricity from Bulgaria, Greece, the Czech Republic and Iran. As Turkey’s minister of energy and natural resources, Taner Yildiz, said earlier, if necessary, Turkey could import electricity from Georgia.
According to stats from the Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, in January-February 2015, the electricity consumption in Turkey rose by 63 percent standing at 1.398 billion kilowatt hours.
The cost of Turkey’s electricity imports over these two months was $110 million, which is itself a big enough sum.
In one hour, as the state-run electricity transmission company TEIAS said, Turkey consumes a minimum of 21.797 megawatts of electricity.
And of course, electricity consumption in Turkey will rise along with its growing population.
The March 31 accident, which resulted in power blackouts in over 80 cities in the country, has forced Ankara to take more decisive steps to get rid of energy dependence.
The last time a similar state of emergency took place in Turkey was in 2006. Then the power supply in a number of cities was cut off for 11 hours.
Recently, the head of the Turkish chamber of commerce, Nurettin Ozdebir, told the media that in the last major power failure that left Turkish cities without electricity for six hours the country’s economy lost about $600 million.
Again today, the electricity supply was interrupted in a number of regions of the country.
Turkey’s Grand National Assembly today ratified an agreement with Japan on the construction of a second nuclear power plant in the province of Sinop on the Black Sea coast. This serves as evidence that the Turkish authorities are serious about tackling the problem and working proactively to overcome the energy dependence of the country.
The agreement with Japan on construction of a second nuclear power plant in Sinop province in Turkey was signed in 2013. Implementation of the project is scheduled for completion by 2023.
The construction of the country's first nuclear power plant Akkuyu will be completed in 2022, according to the Turkish media. It will produce about 40 billion- kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently stated that a third nuclear power plants would be built in Turkey. He emphasized that Turkey's electricity needs are growing every day and it is necessary to build three nuclear power plants in the country to solve this problem.
The creation of infrastructure for the first nuclear power plant Akkuyu, which will be built by Russia, will begin in Turkey in April 2015.
An intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Turkey on cooperation in the fields of construction and operation of the country's first nuclear power plant Akkuyu near the city of Mersin in southern Turkey was signed in 2010.
The first Turkish nuclear power plant will be equipped with four power units with VVER-1200 reactors (water-water energy reactor). The installed capacity of each power unit at the nuclear plant will be equal to 1,200 megawatt. The project cost is about $20 billion and will produce about 35 billion- kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
But, although the need is accepted by most of the Turkish public, the construction of nuclear power plants remains controversial.
In particular, representatives of a number of the opposition parties claim that since Turkey is located in a seismically active zone, nuclear power plants might pose a serious threat to the region. In this case, however, they prefer not to mention the fact that the nuclear power plant Akkuyu will be built in Sinop province, a region least prone to earthquakes.
So while the government's intention to build three nuclear power plants in the country can be considered a major step in resolving some energy sector issues, controversy aside, Turkey will have to wait another seven years to see the results.
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