Energy is one of the most critical topics of the ! world agenda in the process we are going
through. Undoubtedly, the primary reason for
this is the war between Russia and Ukraine.
However, attributing the recent increase in the stand out of the energy topic, which is always on the agenda, only with this war will prevent the whole picture from being seen. Because a conflict has not yet started in the north of our country, however, record increases were seen in natural gas prices in Europe last year. Some attribute this to the excessively rapid recovery in the economies, due to the fact that the effects of the global epidemic that started in 2020 were brought under control faster than expected. However, I believe that this is an explanation that overshadows our view of the whole picture.
The key concept that describes what we see when we look at the whole picture is transformation. Around the world, we witness that the energy sector, energy markets, energy geography, energy technologies, in short, almost everything related to energy is under a transformation process. In the energy sector, we lean on electricity, which is a type of secondary energy rather than primary energy. The results of the liberalization of energy markets have started to show their effects, resulting in discussions of new paradigms. Traditional patterns of energy-produc- ing and energy-consuming countries are being eroded day by day. The tremendous speed of technological developments makes what was dreamed of yesterday a reality today. There is this comprehensive transformation behind the fact that energy is at the forefront of the world’s agenda today, and those who cannot achieve this transformation, who cannot manage it well, will have to bear much more than the cost they have incurred today, in the future.
At this point, it becomes necessary to ask the following question: What is the cause of this painful transformation in energy and what lies at its origin? In fact, behind this transformation is an eco-political situation triggered by climate change, fueled by the acceleration in the
production of knowledge, and balanced by the growing population and expectations of welfare. There is no painless transformation in history. This transformation will of course be subject to pain. We are working with all our strength, mind, and passion to manage this painful transformation with the least possible cost and maximum benefit.
What did we do as the Energy Market Regulatory Authority in this process and what did we achieve? What are we doing and what are we going to do next? EMRA recently had its 21st anniversary. Let us take a brief look at how fundamental figures have changed over the past 21 years. Our installed power in electricity increased 3.5 times and our demand for electrical energy increased 2.5 times. Our natural gas demand has almost quadrupled and natural gas has been transported over the country. Fuel smuggling has been reset, fuel quality has reached the highest level in Europe and a
refinery was built from scratch. Service quality has increased in all areas. Over $200 billion of fixed capital investment was made in our energy sector, and most of these investments were made by the private sector. An annual fixed capital investment of $9-10 billion was possible as a result of political stability and legal security as well as smart and quality regulations. Türkiye’s energy markets have deepened and the Turkish private sector has de- veloped and strengthened.
Taking a closer look at the electricity market during the evaluation of the Turkish energy market will facilitate the evaluation of the progress made by our country in the energy transformation. While 60 percent of our electricity installed power consist- ed of thermal power plants 21 years ago, today the share of renewable resources in our installed power is 55%. When expressed proportionally, the difference may not be seen. So, in other words: In 21 years, more than 44 thousand mW of power plants based on new renewable energy sources have been put into service. Meaning that we only included new renewable capacity in the system equal to the total installed power of Greece, Bul- garia, Serbia, Albania and Macedonia.
We believe that this rate of success in the con- version to renewable energy will be increasingly maintained in the upcoming period. As a matter of fact, the final regulations we have made with the awareness of the inevitability of green trans- formation seem to have activated a new wave of investment in the electricity market. It is possible to consider our regulations, which we think will accel- erate the renewable energy transformation, in two axes. On the first axis, we have arrangements for hybrid plant installation based on total efficiency,
while on the second axis, we have arrangements that allow battery storage, which aims to isolate the intermittent gener- ation characteristics of renewable resources. These arrange- ments we have made are, in the final analysis, a requirement of our vision to benefit from our renewable energy potential.
Finally, we started a new era in the electricity market through our legislative amendments regarding storage published in the Official Gazette. The battery storage will allow power plants based on renewable energy sources to operate as baseload power plants. Thus, as a result of the inclusion of more renewable capacity in the system, our security of supply will be strengthened, and system security will be reinforced by increasing the available capacity, the system operation function, which suffers from interrupted production, will be relieved, new opportunities will be created for our investors, the carbon tax resources that our industrialists, especially exporters, may be exposed to will be reduced, and strong support will be provided to Türkiye’s 2053 carbon neutral vision. Moreover, one of the biggest gains for our country will be the production of wind and solar power plant equipment, as well as the development of battery production and tech- nology. As a result, we will have controlled or even reduced
our dependence on imports not only in energy but also in energy technologies.
Another issue we pay attention to within the scope of green transformation is the creation of a charging service infrastruc- ture for electric vehicles. 9 months following the publication of our legislation on charging service, we granted charging network operator licenses to 63 legal entities. We believe that nationwide charging networks will be established in a short time, thanks to our legislation that allows the electrical energy needed by charging stations to be met from the generation facilities to be established within the scope of our Unlicensed Electricity Generation Regulation. We can see from the surveys that the existence of widespread charging networks across the country will facilitate the transition preferences of users to electric cars.
Undoubtedly, energy conversion is a costly and arduous task. It is essential that we bear this cost today, in order to leave a livable world to the next generations. However, as a result of extraordinary conditions in the world energy markets, unexpected and excessive profits can be made in the market. By putting into practice a regulation proposal that the EU is considering these days, we reduced the cost of the transfor- mation as much as possible by ensuring that the unexpected profits generated are used in favour of the consumer and the security of supply is not put at risk. Our efforts in this direction will continue to increase.
Thankfully, we have achieved great success in the field of energy with the cooperation of the public-private sector since the day EMRA was founded. Undoubtedly, the “political and economic stability” achieved under the leadership of our President of the Republic of Türkiye had the most significant share in this success. As we have done so far, we will keep working with determination to build a stronger Türkiye in the field of energy, which is the lifeblood of our economy.
Mustafa Yılmaz/Head of the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA)