Turkey Planning Massive Expansion Of Coal Power
By Paul Homewood
Meanwhile, the Guardian are worried that Turkey does not appear to have got the message!
Turkish coal plants are in line for eye-watering public subsidies and exemptions from environmental regulations, under an amended energy package delivered by the country’s parliament, late last week.
Turkey is a member of the G20, whose two leading economies – the US and China – agreed to ratify the Paris climate change agreement on Saturday.
The G20 summit which ended in Hangzhou, China, yesterday also came under pressure to put a deadline to an old pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.
But MPs and campaigners say that the new amendment known as Article 80 could instead open Turkey’s door to extraordinary largesse for the coal sector and other big energy projects, unfettered by environmental considerations.
Utku Çakırözer, an MP for the opposition Republican party (CHP) said: “This bill will give the government a huge mandate to bypass environmental impact assessments. We made it very clear in committee meetings and general assembly discussions that [some projects under consideration] would mean killing the environment. They would have consequences that it would be impossible to repair.”
Turkey plans to build as many as 80 new coal plants in the next few years, on top of 25 that already exist, belching an extra 200m tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere each year.
Under the new plan, any project deemed a “strategic investment” can be exempted from corporate taxes, tariffs, stoppages, and the duty to carry out environmental risk assessments, or even permitting applications.
Coal operators could be leased state lands for free, receive a 50% discount on electricity bills, and pocket state funding for wage subsidies, insurance premiums and interest on investment loans.
The government is also offering a guaranteed €0.05 per kilowatt hour (kWh) coal-generated electricity price and commitment to buy 6bn kWh’s of coal-generated electricity annually….
Turkey’s coal reserves are mostly low-grade lignite, and the subsidies scheme was intended to cut extraction and processing costs, making it competitive with coal and other energy imports.
Underlying the plan is an imperative to ringfence energy security, given Turkey’s dependence on Russia for natural gas. Relations between the two countries went into a tailspin after Turkey shot down a Russian jet over Syria last winter.
“We have seen how countries that depend on Russia for their fuel supplies have been vulnerable to pressure,” Aydıntaşbaş said. “Everyone felt the need to diversify so we did not become entirely beholden to the Russian regime.”
Despite this, the Ieefa report said that Turkish investment in new coal plants could lock the country’s banking sector into a carbon asset bubble, and prevent the growth of other sources of indigenous energy, such as renewables.
The country’s has acquired just 0.3GW of installed solar capacity compared to Spain’s 7GW and Germany’s 40GW, according to the Ieefa study.
“Turkey, among the sunniest countries in Europe, is not investing seriously enough in its renewable energy potential,” the paper says. “By increasing renewables’ share of power generation and by limiting investments in fossil-fuel fired electricity, Turkey would also be guarding against likely financial defaults and the risk of expensive investments in coal and lignite plants becoming stranded-assets.”
However, analysts note that Turkey’s coal mining history and extant infrastructure may make upfront investments cheaper. Campaign finance and the country’s coal lobby are also cited as factors mitigating against an Anatolian turn to renewables.
I sometimes wonder what world Guardian journalists live in! Do they really think that the Turkish govt gives two hoots about “increasing renewables’ share of power generation”, or have fallen for the western myth of stranded assets? Do they think that Turkey is going to stop mining and burning its own coal reserves, just because we tell them?
If the US and EU want to stop using coal, it will simply make it even cheaper and more available for Turkey and the rest to buy.
It is claimed that Turkish plans could add an extra 200 million tonnes of CO2 each year. This compares to the UK’s emissions last year of 437 million tonnes. It would effectively cancel out everything we plan to do, at great cost, in the next thirty years.
Turkey’s emissions last year were 336 million tonnes CO2 (according to BP data).
Turkey’s Paris Promise.
It is worth looking back at what Turkey’s INDC pledged for the Paris Agreement.
Note that these numbers include all GHGs, not just CO2.
As with many other countries, Turkey offered emission savings, based only a a Business-as-Usual scenario, which can mean anything the Turkish govt wants it to.
Their commitment, therefore, is to increase emissions from 449 million tonnes now, to 929 million tonnes in 2030.
It looks to me as if their latest proposals for coal expansion are in line with their Paris commitment.