Although per-capita energy use in Turkey is still comparatively low, energy demand is expected to grow rapidly in the very near future due to the demographics of its very young population and a rapidly growing economy. Total primary energy supply was 150 Mtce in 2010 and it is expected to double within a decade, according to the government’s most probable scenarios.
The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources is responsible for the preparation and implementation of energy policies, plans and programmes in co-ordination with its affiliated institutions and other public and private entities. It has control over the coal mines, power stations and the electricity grid through a number of different subsidiaries.
The Electricity Market Law came into effect in 2001, marking the first step towards the liberalisation of the electricity market. The law established the Energy Market Regulatory Authority as an independent regulatory authority for energy.
As Turkey’s indigenous energy resources consist almost exclusively of lignite and small amounts of hard coal, the country is heavily dependent on imports of hard coal, oil and gas. The country imports approximately 72% of total primary energy needs. Turkey has around 1.3 billion tonnes of hard coal and 11.5 billion tonnes of lignite resources, of which 0.5 billion tonnes and 9.8 billion tonnes respectively are proven reserves. Turkey’s primary energy production totalled 43.3 Mtce in 2010. Indigenous coal provided 52.0 % of total primary energy production in 2010, traditional biomass (firewood) and waste 15.4 %, oil and natural gas together 10.1 %, hydropower 14.7% and other sources 7.8%. However, the biggest share in consumption was natural gas with 29.9%, while indigenous coal’s share was only 15.0%.
The Turkish coal sector produces both hard coal (2.8 million tonnes in 2010) and lignite (69.0 million tonnes), mainly used for power generation. At present only a small power station (300 MW) is fed with domestic hard coal from the Zonguldak basin, while the larger Iskenderun power plant (1,200 MW) uses imported hard coal. The other power plants use lignite. In total, Turkish coal-fired plants have a capacity of approximately 10.6 GW.
Turkey’s energy consumption has been growing much faster than its production, increasing the country’s reliance on energy imports. Energy demand has doubled over the last two decades, and this trend is set to continue in the future, with a forecast average increase of 4% per year. 26.1% of Turkey’s gross electricity production of 211.2 TWh in 2010 was generated from hard coal (9.0%) and lignite (17.0%). Of the remainder, 46.5 % was provided by natural gas, 24.5 % by hydropower, 1.0% by oil and the remaining 1.9% by wind and other renewable energies. Turkey aims to increase its domestic electricity production by constructing new power plants. However, investments in indigenous coal-fired power stations have been put on hold over the last few years.
Coal production in Turkey has increased approximately by 10 million tonnes in the last ten years and reached 71.8 million tonnes in 2010. Almost all of the coal produced is lignite while hard coal’s share is only 3.9 %. Over 90 % of total coal production was from three state-owned enterprises in 2010: TURKISH COAL ENTERPRISES (TKI), ELECTRICITY GENERATION COMPANY (EÜAŞ) and TURKISH HARD COAL ENTERPRISES (TTK). The private sector’s share was only around 8%. However, about 35% of coal production reported by the state enterprises is mined by private companies under subcontract.
Turkey’s main hard coal deposits are located in the Zonguldak basin, between Eregli and Amasra on the Black Sea coast in north-western Turkey. Hard coal resources in the basin are estimated at some 1,335 million tonnes of which 534 million tonnes are in the proven category. The calorific value of hard coal reserves varies between 6,200 and 7,200 kcal/kg.
This coal basin is the only region in Turkey where hard coal is extracted and it has a very complex geological structure which makes mechanised coal production almost impossible and requires labour-intensive conventional coal production methods.
The state-owned TTK has a de facto monopoly on the production, processing and distribution of hard coal, although there are no legal restrictions on private sector involvement. The company operates five deep mines in the Zonguldak coal basin that produced approximately 2.8 million tonnes of saleable coal in 2010. Long-standing restructuring and privatisation efforts to increase coal production in the basin have not succeeded so far; coal production today is not very different from that of ten years ago.
In 2010, Turkey also imported 26.9 million tonnes of hard coal for thermal power plants, steel production, industry and domestic heating purposes, 38.3% from Russia, 10.6% from Colombia, 9.0% from the USA and 7.6% from South Africa. Coal imports to Turkey are expected to increase over the next years. Although gas-fired power stations dominate the newly installed power capacity of Turkey, some imported coal-fired power plants have also been commissioned in recent years. Coal-fired power plants using imported coal have a total capacity of 2,281 MW. An example is the 1,200 MW Iskenderun power plant in southern Turkey that was completed by STEAG of Germany in 2004.
Lignite is Turkey’s most important indigenous energy resource. Deposits are spread across the country, with proven reserves of 9,837 million tonnes.
The most important lignite deposits are located at the Afsin-Elbistan lignite basin of south-eastern Anatolia, near the city of Maraš, where the geological and economically mineable reserves are estimated at around 5,000 million tonnes of low quality lignite. The Soma basin is the second largest lignite area in Turkey. Other important deposits are located in the Tunçbilek, Seyitömer, Bursa, Çan, Muğla, Beypazarı, Sivas and Konya Karapınar basins. The quality of Turkish lignite is generally very poor and only around 6 % of the reserves have a heat content of more than 3,000 kcal/kg.
A project to develop existing mineral and geothermal reserves and to explore new deposits was initiated in 2005. This has explored new lignite deposits in the country with extensive research and prospecting studies carried out and more than 200,000 metres of drilling completed across approximately 30,000 square kilometres from 2005 to 2011. The project is still ongoing and has added approximately 4 billion tonnes to the total lignite reserves of Turkey.
In 2010, lignite output totalled 69.0 million tonnes. Almost 90 % of Turkey’s total lignite production is from opencast mines. However, there are some underground mining activities, mainly in the Soma, Tunçbilek and Beypazarı basins.
Thirty opencast and nine deep mines are operated by TKI, producing 33 million tonnes of saleable lignite in 2009. EÜAŞ produced 36 million tonnes of saleable lignite for three power plants. The private sector’s lignite production in 2009 was some 7 million tonnes.
The scale of the surface operations allows lignite to be produced at a relatively low cost, making it competitive with imported energy resources. Its main market is lignite-fired power plants which had a total capacity of 8,334 MW in 2009.