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Türkiye aims to drastically reduce reliance on energy imports: minister

Türkiye will reduce its gas consumption to 54 billion cubic meters this year, a 10 percent drop over the 60 bcm that was consumed last year as the country moves increasingly towards renewables, says Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez.

More electricity is being produced from renewable sources and the use of natural gas as fuel to run power plants is going down, Dönmez told reporters at the Filyos Natural Gas Processing Plant in Zonguldak province on Wednesday.

The share of renewables, which include wind turbines, solar panels, and hydropower projects, is expected to reach 52 percent of the installed power capacity in 2022, according to the government.

Türkiye is among the top European countries that have increased the share of renewables in their energy mix.

At the same time Ankara has stepped up efforts to search for indigenous oil and gas reserves, Dönmez said, referring to the discovery of a gas field in the Black Sea and a more recent oil find in the southeast.

As part of Ankara’s effort to ensure energy security, underground gas storage capacity has been increased to 6 bcm.

Is Turkey becoming an energy hub?

This storage capacity, which is a hedge against supply disruptions, will be increased to 10 bcm in the near future, said Dönmez.

The Silivri Underground Gas Storage Center, which was recently put into service, can meet 25 percent of the country’s daily gas needs when the consumption is at its peak, he added.

Ankara spends billions of dollars every year on import of energy including natural gas and oil. A reduction in consumption helps in saving foreign exchange.

As an energy hub

In October, the Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed that Türkiye be turned into an energy hub that connects consumer markets with production centers.

That put Türkiye’s geographical location into the spotlight as the country already serves as a transit route for major gas pipelines.

Dönmez said Türkiye also aims to increase the share of nuclear power in the energy mix – a  point acknowledged by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“Türkiye has seen considerable diversification of its energy mix in the past decade, in particular through the growth of renewable electricity generation. The commissioning of Türkiye’s first nuclear power facility in 2023 will further diversify the country’s fuel mix,” IEA noted in a report it released last year.

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