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Turkey electricity generation by fuel
Figure 4. Electricity generation by fuel.
Fossil fuel and hydroelectricity generation accounts for nearly all of Turkey’s electricity generation capacity (56.1 million kilowatts in 2012), with natural gas as the most important source.

Turkey is a small producer of coal but also imports coal to supply the electric power sector – imports were 23% of total coal supply in 2012. As of 2008, total recoverable coal reserves were 2.36 billion metric tons, of which only 529 million metric tons, or about 23%, was “hard coal” (anthracite and bituminous). The remainder, 1.83 billion metric tons, consists of lignite coal reserves. Production in 2011 was 75.4 million metric tons. Only a small fraction of that production – less than 6% – is bituminous. Turkey has several lignite mines, but only one bituminous mine. Turkey imported about 27 million metric tons in 2010, and likely a similar figure in 2011 in order to satisfy 2011 consumption of 104 million metric tons. In early 2013, Platts reported that “interest in developing coal-fired plants in Turkey has increased dramatically recently”. This followed statements by Energy Minister Taner Yildiz that Turkey has to diversify away from using imported gas to generate power and to make more of its underused domestic coal reserves, ostensibly in an effort to boost its role as a gas transit state.

Hydroelectric has also grown in importance, with investment in the sector. The country has, by government estimate, about 1% of the world’s hydroelectric potential in its waterways. There are several large rivers, including the Tigris and Euphrates that eventually flow in to Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Turkey’s viable hydroelectric capacity potential is estimated at 35,000 megawatts (MW). The installed capacity is currently about 23 gigawatts (GW), according to the International Hydropower Association.

Turkey signed an agreement with Russia in 2010 to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, on the Mediterranean coast. The plant would have four units with a total capacity of 4.2GW and begin operating around 2020. Russian investors, namely Rosatom, agreed to finance a large proportion of the project. However, several Turkish ministries still need to approve the project before formal construction begins.

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