The continued drought in the country and the need to undertake maintenance work at aging natural gas plants are now posing risks to energy supply.
Demand for electricity declined in the first months of the COVID-19 outbreak as economic activity slowed and renewable energy sources, except for hydro power plants, emerged as the main supplier of electricity during this period.
The share of renewables in the country’s electricity generation increased by 13 percent in 2020 compared with 2019.
However, electricity production of lignite-powered plants and hydropower plants dropped 18 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively, last year.Drought was the mean reason behind the shift in the source of electricity production as the water level in dams declined, adversely affecting power generation at hydropower plants.
At the start of 2020, five lignite-powered plants had to cease operations completely as they failed to undertake necessary investment to comply with environmental regulations, while another such plant was forced to suspend production. That meant 3,600 MW capacity remained idle for six months. Thus, electricity production based on lignite declined significantly.
Time has come for a number of natural gas power plants to undergo major maintenance work, according to Cem Aşık, the head of the Electricity Producers’ Association (EÜD).
“Turkey’s electricity generation fleet is aging and power plants need large scale maintenance work. However, those plants did not have financial resources to cover the cost of such work. If those maintenance works are not carried out, serious sudden malfunctions at those facilities could occur and this is a risk,” he said.
He also noted that some 3,000 MW capacity was added to energy production and 2,5000 MW of that capacity came from renewables.