EBRD and EU mark 10 years of supporting clean energy in Turkey

By Maria Rozanova

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More than €650 million invested in green projects

  • Turkey Sustainable Energy Financing Facility celebrates 10 years of operations
  • EBRD and EU invest €650 million in renewable sector in Turkey
  • More than 1,600 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are marking 10 years of support for green energy projects in Turkey through the Turkey Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (TurSEFF).

The anniversary occurs during the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), dedicated this year to underlining the urgent need for clean energy and green recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.

For the past decade, TurSEFF has been working to develop Turkey’s renewable energy market and invested over €650 million in more than 1,600 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

The EU has provided funding for technical assistance, essential to the project implementation. To date, these projects have resulted in the installation of 535 MW of renewable energy capacity, and contributed to saving over 6 million kWh of primary energy and more than 2.3 million tonne of CO2 emissions per year.

The EBRD is committed to providing funds and policy support that will help Turkey cope with the coronavirus crisis and use the current situation to “tilt to green” decisively. Speaking to Turkey’s foreign economic relations board (DEIK), EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said last week: “We must not lose momentum in our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and manage the long-term climate emergency.”

Turkey has come a long way in developing its renewable sources of energy. Ten years ago, there was limited renewable energy generation and the key source still remains imported fossil fuels. This left the country vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices and made it a major producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

In a move to accelerate the transition to a green economy in Turkey, the EBRD launched TurSEFF, which has been on-lending financing to private small and medium-sized enterprises for energy efficiency projects through nine partner financial institutions.

Companies that have benefited from TurSEFF financing range from a fishery in the Mediterranean province of Muğla that built a 100 kW off-grid solar power plant to replace expensive and polluting diesel generators to a hotel in the resort island of Kuşadası that has invested in a portfolio of small-scale energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to improve its sustainability. TurSEFF beneficiaries also include an energy service company that helped an Istanbul hospital achieve greater energy efficiency and reliability of power supply.

“The demand for clean energy in the country remains strong despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis. We will continue to work with the private sector and the government to support Turkey in achieving its target of reduce primary energy consumption by 14 per cent by 2023,” said the EBRD Managing Director for Turkey, Arvid Tuerkner.

The EU is providing funding for technical assistance, while the Climate Investment Fund’s Clean Technology Fund is contributed concessional funding during the first phase of the facility, until 2013. This funding helps to make the loans affordable and facilitates training for partner financial institutions, allowing them to build their capacity to deliver energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

The Bank also finances mid-sized renewable energy generation in the private sector and sustainable energy in the residential sector through dedicated credit lines to Turkish banks, MidSEFF (Turkey Mid-size Sustainable Energy Financing Facility) and TuREEFF, Turkey Residential Energy Efficiency Financing Facility, respectively.

As Turkish businesses seek to save energy and money, the EBRD has been providing not only financing but has also helped the authorities to develop key policies that have created favourable conditions to further boost investment in energy efficiency and renewables. Following the adoption of Turkey’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan in 2015, which unlocked greater investment in renewables, the country is now planning a 14 per cent reduction in primary energy consumption by 2023, in line with its National Energy Efficiency Action Plan passed in 2018.

The EBRD is a major investor in Turkey. Since 2009 it has invested €12.6 billion through 317 projects in various sectors of the country’s economy, with almost all investment in the private sector. The EBRD’s €7 billion portfolio in Turkey is the largest among the 38 economies where the Bank invests.

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