In 2023, Turkey's electricity consumption heavily relies on fossil fuels, including coal and gas, which make up more than half of the energy mix with roughly 57%. Coal alone contributes to over a third of this energy mix, while gas accounts for nearly 20%. On the flip side, there is a significant presence of low-carbon energies, contributing to slightly over 40% of the total electricity consumption. This category includes hydropower, which makes up almost half of the low-carbon energy, followed by wind and solar energy contributing approximately a quarter. Despite this, there remains substantial room to expand the contribution made by other low-carbon sources such as geothermal and biofuels.
Turkey has the potential to improve its clean energy capacity by aspiring to the success stories in other countries. Already making significant contributions with wind energy, Turkey can further harness and expand this resource, following the lead of Denmark and Uruguay, where wind energy generates close to 60% and over 40% of electricity, respectively. Nuclear energy is another avenue Turkey can consider. Several countries have successfully and substantially utilized nuclear power as a substantial part of their electricity mix. France, for instance, gets two-thirds of its electricity from nuclear energy, Slovakia and Ukraine closely following with over 50%.
The history of low-carbon electricity in Turkey is punctuated with significant ups and downs, driven largely by hydropower. Gains in hydropower generation were evident in the late 80s, with a surge in 1987 and 1988. However, the following year saw a decline of 11 TWh. During the 90s and early 2000s, hydropower generation swung significantly with years of growth followed by declines. The most significant fall was observed in 2014, with a decrease of nearly 19 TWh, however, a recovery was evident by 2015. In recent years, while hydropower has experienced some decreases, the emergence of wind energy has been encouraging, with an increase of 6.6 TWh in 2021. The continual fluctuations disrupt consistent progress towards Turkey's low-carbon goals, underscoring the need for further expansion and investment into stable low-carbon energy sources like nuclear, wind and solar.