In the past few days, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency has published its last data related with global greenhouse gas emissions that puts Turkey at 17th place among the biggest polluters in world. When especially the recent coal policy of Turkey that is based on setting 73 coal fired power plants in addition to those are in operation is analyzed, Turkey will likely increase in the global polluter list by 2050. As a signatory party of Paris Climate Accord, Turkey needs to start implementing efficient decarbonization to meet with its nationally determined contribution (NDC) targets. Within this context, an urgent energy transformation is needed in Turkey. This article will explain a general overview for two possible efficient climate actions in means of triggering an energy transition to renewable energy in Turkey whose primary energy source is fossil fuel.
The first climate action is forcing the national government to cancel actual and upcoming fossil fuel projects by limiting fossil fuel usage in accordance with committing to low carbon future targets. Low carbon future targets help countries creating an efficient climate action agenda so that they can monitor their NDC situations. These targets are being planned and implemented by national and local governments depending on the countries’ attitudes towards climate politics. In the first chapter of the article, the possible ways within the context of the real study cases for bringing Turkey to a low carbon model will be examined. For example, in countries like the United States suffering from lack of climate leadership, local governments have started to take action in means of a low carbon future. The State of California became a good example for low carbon local governments by setting Carbon Free Energy Law in the past days. With this law, California aims to produce 60 percent of its electricity from renewable sources (The New York Times, 2018). Therefore, the local governments of Turkey which is also suffering from an efficient climate leadership might need to plough a lone furrow in global climate struggle like California for a while. Although the local governments in Turkey are not economically enough strong as Californian Government, they can start to take action by limiting fossil fuel usages. The municipalities are able to regulate the city traffic flows. This means that they can ban diesel cars in certain territories of the cities, at least for the certain time period of the day. Moreover, the municipalities in Turkey need to change traditional powering ways into renewable practices. The municipalities in Turkey are dependent to national grids in powering process. This is very likely to change a new regulation that is launched by the national government. According to Enerji Günlüğü (2018), municipalities can power the certain municipal operations by unlicensed electricity production. In order to benefit from this regulation, a municipality might set up its own renewable initiative (i.e. a municipal renewable energy cooperation) to power their municipal operations such as wastewater treatment plant operations, urban and rural lighting or construction operations. All these action have a strong potential to force the national government to stop subsidizing new fossil projects. However, expecting the only hope from the local governments are not too realistic to put the country in desired energy transition. The first chapter has presented some aspects to figure out what are possible initiatives and actions are. Indeed discovering what Turkey’s potential in a manner of a fossil free country is another duty.
The second chapter of the article will examine the second climate action that is benefiting from the potential of Turkey’s ability to transform its energy production to the renewables. Turkey with a potential of 308.4 GW electricity production per year is one of the most suitable geographies in the world to supply its yearly energy requirement which is 460 GW primarily from renewable resources (EMO, 2012). However, only 8 percent of the national energy production has been done by the renewable sources in 2017 in Turkey. Consequently closing this huge gap between renewable potential and renewable reality is the main driving force behind Turkey’s energy transition to the renewable sources. To close this gap, firstly discovering new renewable energy sources and secondly integrating the electricity produced by renewable resources into the grid are the essentials. Within this context, according to Yeşil Ekonomi, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will start an initiative to determine the tidal power potential of Turkey. The initiative will work as R&D project in order to prepare a scaled report to calculate how much tidal power can be a part of national energy production. ERBD stated at the end that since it is a project, the outcomes of the project are needed to develop to create a new branch in Turkey’s renewable energy sector. Therefore, making use of this temporary opportunity by transforming a permanent initiative under a legal identity (i.e. institute or ministerial department) has a vital importance Turkey’s renewable energy gap. Secondly, Turkey has to use a significant portion of the renewable energy that is produced. In other words, this energy is needed to be involved in national and regional grids so that it can steal a huge portion of fossil fuel based electricity. Therefore in this chapter a new and efficient actor in renewable energy sector will be analyzed. A semi non-profit initiative called SHURA Energy Transition Center draws attentions in this context. SHURA works to supply a rapid penetration of renewable sources such as solar or wind. They conduct several projects to enhance Turkey’s energy network by developing digital solutions that bring contemporary practices into our electricity distribution network and democratic solutions that enable citizens to choose the source of energy they use. So the number of initiatives or organizations like SHURA has to be increased in Turkey so that Turkish energy network go smart and understand how to use efficiently the renewable energy it produce.
Combating climate change means that combating fossil fuel itself. It has to be cleaned in every natural or anthropogenic system on the Earth in order to achieve our future climate targets. However, filling the gap that is created by pushing fossil fuels out of the game is another story. Unfortunately, this story has almost just started. Therefore, to win this global combat and to make our climate healthy again, our energy need firstly to be green and secondly smart. Humanity has to know that how can they transform their inalienable living parameter energy. To conclude, a realistic and efficient transformation is possible with smart and green initiatives as mentioned in this article and the governments has to amplify it.
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