Turkey has to rely on imported energy sources to meet much of its growing demand, and this is adding to the country’s high current account deficit. However research by the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architect’s Chambers (TMMOB) shows there may be a possibility of using Turkey’s rich lignite resources to generate power.
At the moment just 15.4% of electricity production is fuelled by coal and lignite, while 30.6% is generated using natural gas, with hydro-electric plants pulling 32.2%, liquid fuel power stations 2.9%, and wind farms 3.2%. The energy minister, Taner Yildez recently announced that natural gas usage would be reduced to lower the country’s dependency on energy imports, and those using domestic lignite to produce electricity would be given special incentives. Limits will be imposed on any future natural gas powered projects. The government’s target is to reduce natural gas imports by 20% by 2023.
Growth for electricity between 2010 and 2011 increased by 9.89%, and the bill for imported coal and natural gas exceeded $50 billion last year. The Istanbul Chamber of Commerce has been researching ways to use lignite for 15 years, and studies show that if it is dried out before being used gas emissions can be cut by 90%.
Use of carbon capture and storage systems would prevent some of the emissions from reaching the atmosphere, while the ash is an important component for the cement industry. If utilised properly, lignite usage could produce virtually no greenhouse gas emissions. It’s thought more research and development would allow environmentally friendly projects to be developed which could exploit Turkey’s rich natural resources, reducing the need for foreign energy.