Renewables

Turkey expands renewables capacity in gigawatts rather than megawatts

turkey renewables kalekoy hydropower plant solar hybrid

Photo: Lower Kaleköy hydropower plant (photo: Kalehan Energy Group)

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February 8, 2021

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Published:

February 8, 2021

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The Lower Kaleköy hydropower plant, with an installed capacity of 500 MW, has started full commercial operation, while 1.5 GW of solar projects is expected to be connected to the grid this year.

The Lower Kaleköy hydropower plant (HPP) is particularly significant as it is the first hybrid power plant that combines hydro and solar in Turkey. The approach tackles some of the challenges during droughts, when a large share of hydroelectric facilities is out of business and the country must use power plants powered by natural gas and coal.

Increase in the installed capacity of solar power plants to be 100%

In 2020 the country has added the most renewable capacity in one year – around 4.8 GW, making renewables account for 49 GW out of 95 GW of its total installed power. However, this achievement could be surpassed in 2021.

Last year half of the new renewable energy capacity came from water, while wind, solar, and biomass accounted for the rest.

Turkey has 6.7 GW in solar power plants and they account for 4% of total electricity production

According to the Turkish Solar Energy Industry Association (GENSED), solar power capacity will be increased by 1.5 GW. It would be a 100% increase from last year, when 672 MW of new photovoltaics were connected to the grid.

The result in 2020 was lowered due to disruptions in the global supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, GENSED’s head Halil Demirdağ said, as quoted by Anadolu Agency.

Solar is a great stabilizer for hydropower plants

At the end of 2020, the total installed capacity of photovoltaic facilities was 6,667 MW or 4% of total power generation in Turkey.

Demirdağ said solar power potential could help Turkey reduce its energy import bill and climate change. The country also has big hydropower potential but in times of drought, it had to produce electricity from natural gas and coal.

“We see solar as a great stabilizer for hydropower plants when constructed in a hybrid way,” he added.

Combining solar and hydro

Lower Kaleköy hydropower plant (photo: Kalehan Energy Group)

The connection of the last of three units of the Lower Kaleköy Hydropower plant to the grid at the Lower Kaleköy Dam marked the start of commercial production. The plant was constructed by the consortium led by GE Renewable Energy Hydro Solutions. The owner is Kalehan Energy Group.

With its 500 MW in installed capacity, Lower Kaleköy will be the sixth-largest HPP in Turkey in the private sector.

Gültekin Keles, General Manager at Kalehan Energy Group, said the country is only using 60% of its economical hydropower potential.

Lower Kaleköy is the first hybrid power plant in Turkey, with 500 MW hydro and a 80 MW solar power plant under the same license, said Keles, according to GE’s press release.

Turkey has 28.8 GW in hydropower plants, but there is still an additional economical potential of up to 50 GW.

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