April 22. 2024. 6:15

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Empowering the Winds of Change: Türkiye’s Role in the EU’s Energy Transition


The European Union is facing a unique opportunity in a world increasingly defined by geopolitical tensions, economic turbulences and the urgency of addressing climate change. The demand for renewable energy, particularly wind energy, has surged due to various factors, including global supply chain disruptions and the EU’s quest for energy security. As we witness these uncertain times, it is important to recognize the significant impact that Türkiye’s wind industry can have on promoting regional energy stability and sustainability — writes İbrahim Erden, Chairman of the Turkish Wind Energy Association (TWEA).

The European continent, along with the rest of the world, has faced challenges related to disruptions in supply chains originating from the Far East during the coronavirus pandemic. Such global trade route disturbances have highlighted the vulnerabilities of supply chains in modern economies. The post-pandemic surge in energy prices has encouraged the EU to explore alternative and sustainable energy sources with objectivity.

In this context, the wind energy industry has become a symbol of hope. The rapid rise of wind energy is not just an ecological decision, but an economic requirement. In point of fact, transitioning to renewable energy sources is crucial for the EU’s energy security and commitment to slashing carbon emissions. This transition hinges on overcoming the pressing bottleneck of supply chain problems, which can be addressed by de-risking the supply chain and near-shoring relevant wind supply chain sources.

A potential solution

Türkiye has the fourth strongest wind industry in the region, making it uniquely positioned to provide a solution to this supply challenge. The Turkish wind sector has experienced remarkable growth in recent years and reached 12 GW, while this growth boasted an industrial infrastructure that rivals the best in the world. Harnessing this untapped potential could offer a solution to the energy challenge.

As the winds of change gather strength, it is crucial for EU member states to acknowledge Türkiye’s industrial capabilities. By promoting a deeper understanding of Türkiye’s current wind energy infrastructure, the EU can enhance both its own energy supply security and bilateral trade relationships. The possibilities for beneficial collaboration are immense, and through investing in Türkiye and collaborating with its well-founded local supply chain, the EU can establish the groundwork for a sustainable and harmonious energy future.

In an age where global supply chains have demonstrated vulnerability, diversification is essential. Türkiye is strategically situated at the intersection of Europe and Asia, making it a significant hub for the EU’s renewable energy supply networks. This partnership has the potential to reshape the energy sector and pave the way toward a cleaner, more secure future.

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It is necessary to grasp the statistics to fully comprehend the scale of this prospect. The “2022 European Wind Statistics and 2023-2027 Outlook” report by the European Wind Energy Association WindEurope revealed that in 2022, Europe added 19 gigawatts of new wind energy capacity, with 16 gigawatts installed within the EU-27. However, this amount falls considerably short of what is necessary for the EU to achieve its 2030 Climate and Energy objectives. Onshore wind installations represented a significant portion, accounting for 87% of the recently added wind capacity in Europe. Overall, Europe’s total wind energy capacity now stands at 255 gigawatts.

Türkiye was among the top countries that significantly contributed to the wind energy infrastructure in Europe, as per the report. The country has emerged as a major player in wind energy and ranks sixth in terms of the installed power capacity. The report further indicated that Türkiye’s wind energy capacity increased by 867 megawatts in 2022, taking the total installed power to 11,969 megawatts, up from the previous year’s ranking.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that the EU is ramping up its wind energy deployment efforts in response to the energy crisis, and the introduction of new policies and targets outlined in the REPowerEU Plan and The Green Deal Industrial Plan is anticipated to play a pivotal role in stimulating investments in wind power. Türkiye, in this context and considering the data it has, can further contribute the EU’s agenda to reach achieve the goals in its very future plans.

War-led security threats

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has significantly impacted global energy security, especially in Europe. As a significant exporter of oil and gas, Russia’s actions in the war have disrupted the supply and resulted in surging prices of these resources, leading to increased prices and concerns about energy shortages and blackouts in some European nations.

These energy security challenges are likely to have a long-term impact on Europe. The war revealed Europe’s susceptibility to energy supply disruptions and impeded progress toward its climate objectives. In addition to the pressing issues of guaranteeing dependable and cost-effective energy supply, the conflict has also generated long-term energy security ramifications. Investment in new energy initiatives has been postponed, and collaboration with Russia on energy concerns has become more challenging due to the war.

This emphasizes the need to take advantage of Türkiye’s potential as a regional energy hub and recognize it as among the leading partners of EU in renewable energy and supply chains, in order to mitigate risks associated with energy and supply disruptions.

As the EU aims to achieve its ambitious targets for renewable energy and a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, policymakers must utilize every available resource. Türkiye’s wind industry is a compelling opportunity to bridge the gap between aspirations and actions.

The EU stands at a critical point, facing the challenge of securing its energy supply while advancing the global battle against climate change. Türkiye’s sturdy wind industry presents a practical, efficient and mutually beneficial solution. By raising awareness of Türkiye’s capabilities and investing in this collaboration, the EU can uncover a future characterized by energy security, sustainability and shared prosperity. The European Union should capitalize on the enduring source of energy that wind power offers, as the winds of change are blowing.

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