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Turkey only outranked by China in direct utilization of geothermal energy

Bathers at Pamukkale, Turkey (source: flickr/ wackelijmrooster, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 4 Apr 2020

Turkey is one of the leading countries not only in the utilisation of geothermal energy for power generation, but even more so for the direct use of geothermal for e.g. heating of greenhouses, bathing and related.

This week, Anadolu Agency in Turkey quoted Orhan Mertoglu, Chairman of the Turkish Geothermal Association with regards to its ranking in geothermal energy direct use.

It is no secret that Turkey made a huge leap forward in the global rankings for geothermal power generation from an installed power generation capacity of 30 MW in 2008 to 1,526 MW at the year-end of 2019, no country has ever seen such a leap before.

Yet one element of geothermal energy utilization is a bit underestimated in the context of Turkey, and that is of the direct utilization of geothermal energy resources. In a global update report in conjunction with the World Geothermal Congress 2020 (now postponed to May 2021), “Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2020 Worldwide Review,” John W. LUND; Aniko TOTH, the authors provide an overview on today’s status of the sector. (link)

In the global overview, based on the country reports presented for Turkey by Mr. Mertoglu, Turkey actually comes to number 2 in the global rankings not only in the installed heat production capacity (MW thermal), but also in the heat production (TJ/ year). This though based on geothermal energy utilzation without heat pumps.

Turkey has a large infrastructure and utilises geothermal energy for heating greenhouse operations and the bathing element in the tourism sector is as well a strong element of geothermal energy utilization in Turkey today.

“The potential of geothermal power in Turkey, 4 thousand 500 megawatts from conventional hydrothermal resources. We currently have 1,600 MW of production capacity [official number for year end 2019 is 1,526 MW]. It is 3,500 MW of thermal that we use in heating. Our potential in heating is 60 thousand MW of thermal. It’s so high number. Therefore, geothermal is our local, renewable, national resource. It is cheap and has no external dependence. Today it provides 70 percent cheaper heating than natural gas. ”

Reminding that the investment cost in geothermal varies between $2,000 and $40,000 per unit, Mertoglu said, “This figure may be a little higher than the wind, but 35-40% production is taken in the wind in a year, while 95% production is obtained in geothermal. This reduces the unit cost. ” he spoke.

Stating that geothermal electricity production is increasing day by day, Mertoglu said:

“We are the world leader in the geothermal greenhouse with about 5 thousand acres. Although Afyonkarahisar is cold, production is being carried out in geothermal greenhouse in 700 decares even here. Our geothermal field, which was 144 previously, has now exceeded 300. Continuous search and study is done. This will never end, it will continue for life. It is a new, renewable, repeatable energy type in the geothermal world and the cleanest energy in the world. There is no such geothermal resource anywhere in the world. This is the grace of God to us. ”

Source: our Turkish-language service JeotermalHaberler