Turkey

From waste to energy: Turkey looks to biomass to achieve ‘green growth’

Currently, Turkey relies heavily on imported fossil fuels to meet its domestic energy demand. But by embracing the massive growth of its renewable energy market – including biomass and circular waste-free approaches –  Turkey can achieve its long-term sustainability and energy security goals.

 

Why is bioenergy and industrial energy efficiency important for Turkey

Turkey has one of the world’s fastest growing economies in the world and ranks second in natural gas and electricity demand growth after China. Projections show that Turkey’s energy demand will continue to rise. Reducing external energy dependency in the electricity market with renewables is a relatively common approach in the global energy market. But, it is challenging when it comes to replacing fossil fuel use in the energy market with renewables. Biomass however offers a unique opportunity from other renewable energy sources as it can play a fundamental role in producing both electricity and heat (and even cooling in tri-generation systems) at the same time, contributing to sustainability measures in multiple dimensions.

Turkey’s energy consumption has grown rapidly due to industrialization and economic development, urbanization and the country’s growing population. The impacts of climate change have also become more pronounced in recent years. Transitioning to a more secure and sustainable energy mix is critical to managing the demands of Turkey’s growing population and the impacts on people due to climate change. The scaling up of Turkey’s industrial bioenergy sector, along with the introduction and enforcement of regulations for more sustainable residue management on agricultural land, will also help to reduce local air pollution and related social health impacts.

 

Turkey ranks among the top 20 emitters in the world. Accelerated industrial energy efficiency uptake combined with a boost in bioenergy generation has the potential to reverse Turkey’s growing trend of increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to some studies it is possible for Turkey to meet one-third of its annual energy demand with biomass. The scaling up of Turkey’s industrial bioenergy sector, along with the introduction and enforcement of regulations for more sustainable residue management on agricultural land, will help to reduce air pollution and related social health impacts, as well as to prevent stubble burning and improve biodiversity.

 

Creating a market for bioMASS and industrial energy efficiency

Turkey’s untapped biomass sector presents huge opportunities to generate heat and electricity from agricultural waste. Although these opportunities appear attractive, there remains a lot of uncertainty in terms of costs, supply and aggregation, technology and scale.

 

UNIDO’s ongoing project in cooperation with TAGEM (Republic of Turkey Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policies) aims to demonstrate and repurpose agricultural residues in the production of energy. Turkish farmers typically burn these residues which emit harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. But by fostering and promoting an environmentally sound bioenergy industry, Turkey can decrease its dependence on imported coal, oil and natural gas, and also mitigate harmful greenhouse gas emissions. 

 
In addition to showcasing modern and environmentally safe bioenergy technologies and processes, the project is working to simultaneously promote the benefits of industrial energy efficiency through awareness raising and the demonstration of various energy efficiency technology applications in selected Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sub-sectors. Particular focus will be given to the potential of waste heat recovery in Turkish industrial plants.

ADVOCACY and POLICY SUPPORT

Turkey’s national energy strategy aims to make the country’s energy supply more secure through diversification. The generation of more energy resources that are domestically sourced and also renewable is essential to achieving this goal. UNIDO is working with the Government to strengthen existing incentives which are designed to accelerate the use of biomass as an energy resource. This includes advice and support for the development of sustainable production, conversion and efficient utilization of bioenergy inline with the country’s Renewable Energy Action Plan of Turkey. 

INDUSTRY KNOW-HOW

In addition to showcasing modern bioenergy technologies, UNIDO is working to simultaneously promote the benefits of industrial energy efficiency through awareness raising and the demonstration of various energy efficiency technology applications in selected Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sub-sectors. Particular focus will be given to the potential of circular economy models such as waste heat recovery in Turkish industrial plants. Through regular training initiatives and workshops the project expects to deliver a critical mass of energy efficiency capacity and biomass knowhow for both industry stakeholders and policymakers.

The project also emphasizes gender balance in each step of energy generation, and displays gender equality planning for all its awareness raising & training organizations. 

FINANCING FOR EFFICIENCY

Although a number of renewable energy applications using organic waste have successfully obtained investment, Turkish investors are typically reluctant to finance biomass and/or industrial energy efficiency initiatives due to perceived risks. To overcome this, UNIDO is trialling and encouraging a number of financing mechanisms. This includes a dedicated credit support for selected projects sponsors wanting to experiment with the ESCO (energy service company) model. Additional measures, such as investment grants and tax breaks are also under consideration.

Impact

  • 4.2 Million metric tons of CO2
    mitigated through relevant direct and indirect project interventions.
  • 11 Bioenergy investments
    are supported financially (5 supply chains and 6 energy plants), and 7 academic works in bioenergy are partially granted (5 masters and 2 phds).
  • 500 Engineers, technicians, government and financial stakeholders
    trained in bioenergy technology and related applications.