Major power blackout hits Turkey 

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The good news arrived earlier today from the Turkish Statistical Institute saying that the country’s economy grew by 2.6% in the last quarter of 2014 and that annual growth stood at 2.9%. Both figures are higher than previous estimates.

However just a few of hours later a major electricity outage hit Turkey, affecting cities and the countryside, including the capital city Ankara and the Bursa Province in the Marmara Region. The blackout caused traffic chaos across Istanbul and other large cities.

pv magazine spoke to a number of energy industry insiders that indicated that the Thrace Region, the city of Istanbul, the Black Sea Region and the East Region of the country are now able to access the grid, and power has been restored.

Turkey’s Electricity Transmission Company (TEIAS) did not provide any answers as to what caused the power cut. However, Turkey’s energy minister said that a power plant in the Aegean Region cut off the system and that this may have caused the blackout.

Gas imports hit record high

Meanwhile, a few days earlier, Turkey’s energy regulator (EPDK) said that Turkey’s natural gas imports hit an unprecedented high record in December when importing above 5 billion cubic meters (bcm).

In previous years, Turkey has imported about 3.6 bcm of gas in December 2009, 4.2 bcm in December 2010, 4.7 bcm in December 2011 and 4.9 bcm in December 2013.

Overall gas imports in 2014 were 8.8% higher than in 2013.

Turkey’s electricity generation mix, which currently relies around 40% on natural gas imports, needs to diversify urgently, including the country’s rich renewable energy sources. Despite the apparent drive for renewable energy development though, the country is still allocating the licenses resulting from the first call for solar PV licenses in 2013.

A week ago, TEIAS announced that on 28th, 29th and 30th April 2015 it will tender a cumulative 302 MW of solar PV capacity, which is part of the country’s inaugural call for 600 MW of solar PV in 2013.

pv magazine will examine Turkey’s PV landscape in the forthcoming April issue, including policy, financing, grid issues and the sub-1 MW unlicensed market.