Renewable energy develops ‘antibodies’ against COVID-19

The renewable energy sector has overcome the COVID-19 crisis, according to Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez. Speaking at the ‘Past and Present of Renewable Energy’ meeting organized by Sabanci University’s Istanbul International Center for Energy and Climate (IICEC), Donmez said the global economy has passed through a serious bottleneck in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Renewable energy has become one of rare sectors that overcame such a turmoil by growing,” he added.

Renewable energy growth will exceed the 7% expectation, according to Donmez. “If we express this with the jargon dominating our present, the sector has developed a kind of of antibody against the difficulties stemming from the crisis,” he said. In this context, the growth rate has been revised for the end of the year, and is now estimated to approach 18%. The electricity generated by renewables is projected to exceed the electricity generated by coal in the next 5-10 years with the support of high demand for renewable energy. Thus, fossil fuels, which have remined on the top for 50 years, will be replaced by renewables.


Efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the fight against the climate crisis have increased the attraction of renewables. Investments in the renewable energy sector are expected to double in the next five years with increasing concerns over climate change. “We are at the heart of such rapid change. The country’s story on renewable energy is in the ‘bloom of youth’,” Donmez said, stressing that the renewable energy industry is becoming more dynamic, with more stakeholders taking part. The country’s energy industry experienced a substantial transformation in the last 19 years, he added. The metamorphosis of the sector also laid the foundation for the transition from public dominance in energy to competitive free market dynamics.


Since the privatization of the electricity sector, market volume has deepened and more actors have penetrated the market, increasing competition and forcing companies to develop structures focusing on customer satisfaction, according to Energy and Natural Resources Minister Donmez. The country’s total installed power has exceeded 97,000 MW, triple what it was 20 years ago, driven in large part by private sector investments. The public share in electricity generation averages 15-20% per year today. “Annual installed power investments made by the private sector after 2011 have overtaken the public’s annual installed power investments,” said Donmez.


52.3% of the country’s installed power consists of renewable energy resources, according to Donmez. The share of renewable energy resources in the country’s electricity generation stood at 25.4% in 2018, rose to 43.9% in 2019 and totaled 42.4% in 2020. Meanwhile, 98% of installed power used in Q1 2021 consisted of renewable resources. “We ranked 12th in the world and 5th in Europe in renewable installed power in 2020. From 2002-2020, Turkey ranked 9th in the world and 4th in Europe for its increase in installed renewable power,” said Donmez.

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