02 November 2021
New report sets out roadmap for Paris-compatible Turkish coal power exit
ISTANBUL, 2 NOVEMBER 2021 – Turkey can be coal free by 2030 if fossil fuel companies are made financially responsible for their externalities in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle, and the government ends subsidies for coal, according to a new report published by Europe Beyond Coal, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Sustainable Economics and Finance Research Association (SEFiA), WWF-Turkey (World Wildlife Fund), Greenpeace Mediterranean, 350.org and Climate Change Policy and Research Association.
According to the First Step in the Pathway to a Carbon Neutral Turkey: Coal Phase out 2030 report , income from a carbon pricing mechanism combined with savings from cancelling coal subsidies would provide finance to facilitate an equitable, just transition for Turkey’s coal industry this decade. Currently no coal plant or mine owner in Turkey bears any of the health, pollution, or climate costs created by their operations, and their polluting businesses further benefit through purchase guarantees and capacity mechanisms.
The report finds that:
- When power plant operators are required to bear the costs of coal’s externalities, coal electricity generation becomes uneconomic, meaning that market forces alone would lead to a 2029 domestic coal exit.
- Under the report’s coal phase out scenario, which foresees a coal exit by 2030, carbon emissions from the power sector would decrease by 82.8 percent between 2021 and 2035, leaving emissions at 27.6 million tons of CO2 by 2035.
In comparison, the business as usual scenario shows that it will be very hard to reach Turkey’s 2053 carbon neutral target if coal stays a part of its energy mix.
- High electricity prices make energy security and energy independence especially vital. Focusing on a coal phase out in favour of building up renewable energy generation to 73.6 percent will address these needs.
- A coal phase out and just transition to renewable energy can be achieved with an increase in annual spending of only 0.5 percent of Turkey’s gross domestic product until 2029, which equates to EUR 24 billion over the period.
- A coal phase out must include a just transition mechanism that creates new local economic opportunities, and an inclusive and fair transition for those living in coal regions.
“For too long polluters in Turkey have had free reign to damage the health of our environment and people, and financial support to do so. With the government’s ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement and Turkey’s new 2053 net zero target effectively dooming the coal industry, we finally have some hope for a cleaner, healthier, safer future,” said Duygu Kutluay, Europe Beyond Coal campaigner. “Twenty European countries have either quit coal or announced plans to do so. Today we demonstrate that Turkey can secure technological advantages; employment, health and financial benefits; and tremendous political good will by also exiting coal.”
“Turkey has taken a much needed commitment to climate action with it to this year’s crucial COP26 climate conference. This makes a quick shift from coal to renewable energy necessary, and this study shows that it is technically and financially achievable,” said Özlem Katısöz, Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator for Turkey at Climate Action Network Europe. “The most important pieces now will be planning ahead for the social dimension of this transition, so those living and working in coal regions share in the opportunities this renewable energy revolution will bring.”
“The 2053 net-zero target announced with the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, now requires Turkey to set an ambitious emission reduction strategy. The most important part of this is the exit from coal,” said Bengisu Özenç, Director of Sustainable Economy and Finance Research Association (SEFiA). “Doing its part to decarbonise its economy will protect Turkey’s foreign trade under competitive conditions that are changing in line with global climate targets, and improve its reputation among trade partners.”
“Electricity generation from coal in Turkey is a major obstacle to our fight against climate change, as well as a serious burden on nature, public health and the public budget,” said Asli Pasinli, General Director of WWF Turkey. “We need a new economic approach that supports green investments and abandons pollutant technologies, especially coal, for a future that is carbon neutral, climate resistant, and where no one is left behind.”
“This report refutes the claim that Turkey is dependent on coal for electricity generation and proposes a viable process for coal exit,” said Onur Akgül, Climate and Energy Project Officer at Greenpeace Mediterranean. “Turkey can transform its electricity sector in nine years without relying on nuclear, and without shaking the public budget. To do so, those enriched by the pollution caused by coal must be made to take responsibility for the damage their business does, and bringing in the “polluter pays” principle is the best way to do this. With coal’s damage properly priced in, our leaders will have a key tool to move forward with a fast and fair transition from coal to renewables, and ensure Turkey does its part to address the climate crisis.’’
Nilay Vardar, Communications Consultant, Europe Beyond Coal, (Turkish, English)
[email protected] +90 533 310 89 98
Duygu Kutluay, Turkey Campaigner, Europe Beyond Coal Campaign (Turkish, English)
[email protected], +90 532 6385421
Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal (English)
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185
- Executive summary in English: https://beyond-coal.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Coal-Phase-Out-Report.pdf
- Full report in Turkish: https://beyond-coal.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/komurden-cikis-2030-min.pdf
- Report photos: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1hXE_tL-SGL1ZtCRrs6JrsQBcSp3rOYlF
- According to TEİAŞ (Turkish Electricity Transmission Company) load distribution data, by the end of September 2021, Turkey had an installed coal capacity of 20.3 GW. According to TEİAŞ generation data, in 2020 coal had a 35% share in total power generation.
- Europe Beyond Coal, CAN Europe, Sustainable Economy and Financial Research Association (SEFIA) , WWF Turkey, Greenpeace Mediterranean, 350.org, Climate Change Policy and Research Association have worked with APLUS Energy to model three scenarios for a coal phaseout in Turkey: (i) business as usual, (ii) coal phase out, and (iii) coal phase out without nuclear. Details of the three scenarios include findings on system costs, total investment needs, installed capacity mix, generation change, and carbon emissions.
- Business as usual scenario: This scenario aims to show the probable situation that will be reached if current energy policies continue. In this context, the purchase guarantee and capacity mechanism payments for domestic coal power plants are assumed to be continuing in their current form. No carbon pricing mechanism is applied during the scenario period. It is assumed that the Akkuyu nuclear power plant will gradually be brought into operation starting from 2025.
- Coal phase out scenario: This scenario aims to show the situation in which existing incentives for coal are removed, the capacity mechanism payments for coal power plants are cancelled as of 2022, and the goal of exiting coal by 2030 is achieved as a result of the introduction of a fixed carbon price. As in the business as usual scenario, it includes the assumption that the Akkuyu nuclear power plant will be operational by 2025. In addition, it is assumed that offshore wind and battery installation applications will be put to use within the scope of the scenario through various incentive mechanisms.
- Nuclear-free coal phase out scenario: Within the scope of the scenario, Akkuyu nuclear power plant is not put to use, and the possibilities of coal phase out in a situation where nuclear energy is not put to use are examined. The assumptions on issues such as carbon price, incentive mechanisms applied for coal etc. are accepted in the same way as in the coal phase out scenario.
Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu