Daily Management Review

Turkey Invests in coal despite global trend to the reverse


04/16/2015


As the world moves ahead and embraces newer and greener sources of energy, Turkey has yet to take concrete measures that are in line with current trends.



As per reports on ‘Subsidies to Coal and Renewable Energy in Turkey’ which have been released on the 24th of March 2015, with the increase in demand for electricity, the Turkish government plans to buckle the global trend towards renewable energy and invest in electricity generated from coal. In 2013, it already spent more than $730 million in coal subsidies.
 
This amount does not even take into account the Turkish government’s ‘New Investment Incentive Scheme’ which subsidizes coal projects and gives tax incentives to companies in the coal industry. So the subsidy figure of $730 million is in fact just the tip of the iceberg.
 
This report which was prepared by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), mentioned the fact that the Turkish government was planning to triple its coal generation by 2030, irrespective of the fact that alternative energy is not more cost effective, but is cleaner and thus causes less harm to our environment.
 
As mentioned in the report, Turkey has already a strategy “focusing on developing domestic coal resources, such that growth in coal-fired power generation is expected to be highest of all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.”
 
Interestingly it goes on to say that in the same breath that the strategy “also acknowledges the importance of environmental protection and emissions reduction, and foresees a much larger role for renewable energy in the energy future.”
 
Given its huge investment in the coal sector, its acknowledgement of the environmental impact of green energy in the same breath, appears to be nothing more than lip service. Further, The Turkish Government’s move to invest more heavily in the coal sector comes at a time when globally corporates, NGOs, and governments are increasingly moving away from polluting industries and are investing more seriously in renewable energy.
 
As per the report, the electricity generated out of solar or wind not only works out to be 50% cheaper than the route taken by the Turkish government, but it has additional benefits as well – that of health and the environment. Even solar energy by itself turns out to be marginally cheaper than coal.
 
“This study provides further evidence to support the case for eliminating fossil-fuel subsidies once and for all. As a G20 country that has already committed to phasing out inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies, this is a call to action for Turkey,” said Peter Wooders, the director of IISD’s energy Program.
 
Only half of Turkey’s subsidies are used to channel coal to families who live below the poverty line and although it can be said that these subsidies provide these families an energy security, but it comes at very high health costs. The report goes on to recommend the gradual phasing out of these subsidies so as to wean off the country’s dependence on dirty fuel, and yet provide families measures to access energy in an efficient manner.

References:
http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/03/turkey-investing-in-coal-despite-cheaper-renewable-energy/







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