Half of Coal Mines in Turkey Could Power 7 Million Household With Solar Power

Highlights :

  • ‘Solar Potential of Coal Sites in Turkey’ report says that solar farms in half of coal mines will increase the solar power of Turkey by 170 per cent.
  • Coal mines have a cost advantage over virgin plots as they come equipped with much of the necessary infrastructure to host solar installations.

A new report ‘Solar Potential of Coal Sites in Turkey’ by campaign group – Europe Beyond Coal – has revealed that more than half of the coal mines of Turkey are suitable for conversion into solar power farms. The coal mines, most of which are open cast mines and the improvement in solar technologies and efficiencies make this possible.  If solar farms are erected properly, the report says, it will not just add more than 170 per cent to the present solar energy capacity of Turkey but also produce electricity that can power more than 6.9 million homes.

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The report says that Turkey has recently ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change and mines can play a crucial role in decarbonizing the energy systems and tackling the climate crisis. The report reveals that if 50% of Turkey’s open cast coal mines are put to solar power use, it will reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 12.4 million tonnes every year. The CO2 emissions reduction would be an equivalent amount of around 50 million passengers taking a flight from Istanbul to Rome.

Bahadır Turhan, Chairman of the Board at Solar3GW, said “This study confirms that countries with large open-cast coal mines should be viewing them as renewable energy transition assets. They have a cost advantage over virgin plots as they come equipped with much of the necessary infrastructure to host solar installations. When you kit them out with advanced battery storage systems, they’re able to consistently deliver a base load of cheap, clean, fossil-free energy.” Solar3GW produced the report.

The report has also disclosed the level of environmental and health damage that is caused by the open cast mining in Turkey. It says that about a quarter of Turkey’s greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions originate from coal which leads to premature deaths. Coal alone has contributed 0.3 degree Celsius of the 1 degree Celsius increase in the average temperature across the planet.

The study says that these solar installations can attract new investors and manufacturing industries, minimizing economic hits in the regions caused by the closure of the coal mines. It holds that this will benefit the health and energy sector’s transition to a fossil-free, fully renewables-based sector.

The report also points out that coal mines have certain inherent advantages for the development of the solar power sector. Bahadir Turhan says, “When you kit them out with advanced battery storage systems, they’re able to consistently deliver a base load of cheap, clean, fossil-free energy.” It will also keep wildfires and floods away.

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