I was in Erzurum for a meeting to discuss energy efficiency on Thursday. Vahap Munyar, an esteemed journalist for Dünya Newspaper also took the floor at the meeting hosted by Governor Okay Memiş, Mayor Mehmet Sekmen and Association of Energy Efficiency in the Buildings (VERİMDER).
Turkey’s ever-increasing energy bill shows that there are many measures the country needs to take in order to ensure of efficient energy use. Given that 70% of the buildings are not built with energy efficiency in mind in Turkey, we need to find ways to achieve the same efficiency by consuming less. We must establish energy efficiency in new buildings, especially in regions with harsh climate where it is very hot in summer and cold in winter. The energy used in Turkey to cool buildings is twice as much as that is spent to heat buildings. According to the International Energy Agency, 7% energy can be saved per person by reducing air conditioners by just 1 degree in cooling or heating.
Since the price of natural gas, which Turkey primarily uses for heating and energy, has doubled in the last year, a portion of this burden is borne by the state and partly by citizens and businesses, challenging the industry and the households.
Energy bills of companies have grown by at least 250% in the last year. What is worse is that they continue production without having any idea about the bill amount they will pay at the end of the month. Another fact is that the energy consumed in buildings in Turkey has exceeded the energy consumed by the industry. Due to this huge energy loss in buildings, it’s not surprising that the country’s energy bill, which was once around $55 billion, is now around $120 billion.
“Efficiency Awareness Is Rising…”
The government’s recent incentives is helping the country develop energy efficiency awareness. On the other hand, there is the risk of not even being able to supply the energy that we are willing to pay the price for, no matter how high it could be. For this reason, the world is now trying to produce energy locally and distribute the surplus to the environment, in lieu of supplying energy from remote locations for self-sufficiency and in order to reduce energy loss and unauthorised energy use. The developments I have mentioned above are also disruptive to the countries and companies that sell natural gas, as well as corporations that have made serious investments in energy production, supply, and distribution.
Some energy companies have finally realized that it is not possible to get the job done merely by designing and erecting buildings since energy efficiency is an issue that needs to be addressed from top to bottom. Therefore, energy companies are now offering proposals such as “Let us set it up and operate it on your behalf” to those seeking self-sufficiency in energy, especially the owners of industrial facilities and mega-buildings.
All these developments tells us the energy investors which megatrends will dominate the sector in the future. In the future, the half of the total energy consumed will consist of electrical energy, crucial importance will be attached to carbon footprint and energy efficiency. If Turkey takes the right steps, it can make an improvement of approximately 5 and 7 billion dollars to the current account balance every year. This improvement can of course be bettered by technological developments.
The Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which was launched in Turkey in 2018, comprises different efforts both by the government and private sector. Thanks to the plan, new employment opportunities were created for 12,000 people in 2021 and 372 million dollars’ worth energy saving was achieved. The total amount of investments in energy efficiency in 2021 reached TRY 1,325 million.
All of this shows us that there is an awakening of energy consciousness in Turkey.