Dark chapter for Turkey as it overtakes Germany to become Europe’s number one for coal-fired electricity

Dark chapter for Turkey as it overtakes Germany to become Europe’s number one for coal-fired electricity
Turkey to a large extent is hooked on coal partly because drought undermined its hydroelectric production. / @tkikurumsal
By Akin Nazli in Belgrade May 22, 2024

Turkey has overtaken Germany to become Europe’s top user of coal in the production of electricity. It produced 36 TWh of such power in January-April, according to data from energy think tank Ember.

The figures, first reported by Reuters, on May 21 showed Germany in second place with 35 TWh. Poland remained third with 31 TWh.

bne IntelliNews in March told how Turkey had pushed Poland into third place, with our story Cheap coal from Putin fires Turkey up the dirty power generation league.”

Charts by Reuters.

In 4M24, Turkey’s coal-fired power generation actually contracted 3% y/y, but Germany registered a far great decline amounting to 32% y/y.

In 2023, Germany increased its clean generation capacity by 9% y/y while Poland and the Netherlands registered more radical 21% y/y expansions.

Italy posted a 10% y/y rise in its clean capacity and Spain 8% y/y.

Meanwhile, Turkey recorded a 5% y/y increase in its clean capacity, outdoing Serbia’s 4% and the 1% registered by both Czechia and Romania.

Also in 4M24, coal took a 34% share in Turkey’s electricity production versus the European average of 13%.

The figure stood at 21% in Germany, 59% in Serbia, 35% in Czechia and 30% in Bulgaria.

Declines in drought-hit hydropower production were the main reason for Turkey’s booming coal consumption, according to Ember.

Turkey became Europe's largest coal importer and the ninth largest in the world, with 24mn tonnes of imports.

In August 2022, the EU banned Russian coal imports. The bloc also announced that it would gradually reduce the flow of Russian natural gas to Europe conducted via pipelines. As a result of these moves, coal prices fell more than natural gas prices. That led to a surge in Turkey’s imports of Russian coal.

On the bright side, the country’s is winning plaudits for the pace of its solar power expansion. In April, Turkey’s photovoltaic (PV) capacity expanded by 1.3 gigawatts to 13.9 GW.