Turkey allocated almost 2.8 GW in transmission grid capacity for renewables. Over 1.3 GW is for upgrading projects to hybrid power plants. They have become popular in the country as, for instance, the combination of different energy sources such as solar and wind power makes the output more predictable.
The Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA or EPDK) and Turkish Electricity Transmission Corp. (TEİAŞ) said they allocated 2.79 GW in grid capacity, mostly for wind and solar power plants that are planned to be selected at the upcoming rounds of auctions named YEKA RES-3 and YEKA GES-5, respectively.
YEKA stands for Renewable Energy Resources Area, a scheme for renewable energy developers with the lowest bids to get power purchase agreements. EMRA’s Chairman Mustafa Yılmaz estimated the total value of investments at USD 5 billion and said he expects them to be fully implemented within two years.
Numerous combinations of sources are convenient for establishing hybrid power plants
The authorities allocated 785 MW in grid capacity for wind farms and solar parks. The biggest part, 1.32 GW, is for the connection of units that would be integrated with other projects or power plants that use a different source, creating hybrid power plants.
The most common practice is to combine a solar power facility with a wind power plant. They are compatible as wind is usually stronger at night and in the winter, while photovoltaics work only during the day and have peak production in the summer, so the operator can make better production forecasts and lower balancing costs.
The biggest hybrid power plant in Turkey consists of Cengiz Holding’s 510 MW hydroelectric unit and 80 MW solar power plant
Hybrid power plant projects have been springing up all over Turkey. There are numerous possible combinations of complementary sources including hydropower, battery storage, geothermal power plants or conventional facilities like gas power plants.
Cengiz Holding put the largest hybrid power plant in Turkey online last year. It said the facility is the biggest in Europe as well. Lower Kaleköy (Aşağı Kaleköy) consists of a hydroelectric unit of 510 MW and an 80 MW photovoltaic plant.
Over 2 GW in wind, solar projects to be selected in upcoming YEKA auctions
The remaining 680 MW was allocated for so-called unlicensed power plants. They are mostly small and rooftop solar power systems for self-consumption purposes. They can be installed without the establishment of a legal entity.
The YEKA RES-3 wind power auctions will be held for 850 MW in total in 20 provinces as the initial 2 GW plan was revised. The scope of YEKA GES-5 was cut to 1.2 GW from 1.5 GW. The auctions will be held for potential solar power plants in 18 provinces instead of the original 23, while the number of units was reduced to 66 from 76.
Government data shows 97% of power plants that came online last year run on renewable sources
Licensed power plants with a combined capacity of 3.45 GW came online last year in Turkey, according to government data, and 97% was renewable energy. Wind accounted for 51.5% of the total. Solar power had a 14.5% share, leaving 16.6% altogether for biomass, waste heat and geothermal sources, and 3% for thermal power plants.
The country’s total power capacity was at 99.82 GW at the end of December, of which 46.19 MW were thermal power plants.
Investors matching nominal capacity of their wind farms with new solar units
Numerous investors lately revealed intentions to establish hybrid power plants, mostly by adding solar units to existing wind power plants.
For instance, Fina Enerji wants to build a 55 MW photovoltaic facility at its 60 MW Uluborlu wind power plant in Isparta province in western Turkey, Enerji Günlüğü reported. The company estimated the project to be worth TRY 463 million, which is EUR 29.2 million at the current rate. The sum could turn out to be higher depending on when it was last updated, as the Turkish lira lost more than 40% of its value in the past year.
Another big project is underway in Gevaş in the Van province in the southeast, where Ares Elektrik plans to expand its 50 MW Bağlama wind power plant with an equivalent solar park. It valued the endeavor at EUR 28.4 million after conversion.
The biggest hybrid power project revealed lately is for Fina Enerji’s 55 MW solar power unit which it intends to build at its 60 MW wind park in western Turkey
Alize Enerji said it would build a 27.5 MW photovoltaic unit as an auxiliary source for its Çataltepe wind farm, which has an equal size. The site is in Balıkesir in the western part of Turkey. According to the company, the project is worth only EUR 5.2 million.
Similarly, Dogal Enerjy valued its planned 43.9 MW solar park at just EUR 8.3 million after conversion. The firm wants to build it next to its Samurlu wind power plant near Izmir. The facility built in 2012 has a capacity of 34.5 MW, but there is also a project to expand it to 43.9 MW.
Ağaoğlu Energy intends to install a 39 MW solar power plant worth EUR 24.1 million to match the nominal capacity of its Kartal wind farm in Eskişehir, also in the west, according to Enerji Günlüğü.