Orhan Mertoğlu, head of Geothermal Association of Turkey, said told Anadolu Agency the country is rich in geothermal potential and should utilize the local source as much as possible. The sector is seeking an increase in government incentives, AA Energy Terminal reported.
In hydrothermal, or hot water, the country’s potential is 2 GW, and with improved hot dry rock technology, the country can unearth 15 GW, Mertoğlu said, adding this requires government support. State incentives for geothermal electricity are 10.5 US cents (9.64 euro cents) per KWh. He urged the government to take action and raise the level to 13.77 euro cents.
Mertoğlu also stressed the importance of raising the guarantee of the government’s purchase contract period to buy geothermal electricity. In European Union member countries, the length is 20 years, whereas in Turkey it is 10 years, he reminded. “The current purchase guarantee will end in 2020. The government needs to announce that the time has been extended to at least 20 years as in the EU countries. With the required improvements, investors will be encouraged to make more investments, look for fields and start developing them,” Mertoğlu underlined.
He also said that through increasing the use of geothermal energy, it is also possible to reduce dependence on energy imports. Globally, Turkey is in the top 10 for geothermal electricity use and in the top five for heating-related usage. Currently 160,000 houses are heated with the source and the number can be increased to one million, Mertoğlu said. In Europe, geothermal heating is incentivized but there is no government support in Turkey, he stressed.
The government should grant 25% of project costs in the geothermal heating field to increase investments, Mertoğlu argued. He added the field lacks proper administrative and legal regulation. As part of the country’s renewable energy goals for 2023, Turkey aims to reach 1 GW in geothermal energy. Mertoğlu expressed his confidence that the country will reach its 2023 geothermal target. Eight years ago the country had 15 MW and now it increased to 650 MW; it can even reach 2 GW with added incentives, he said. During the last year’s geothermal conference in Australia, Turkey was declared as an example country for showing the highest increase in geothermal capacity, he reminded.