Coal in Electricity Generation

In 2022, coal made up 34.3% of electricity generation, and 21% of the total installed capacity in Turkey. As of end of 2022, total installed capacity of coal is 21 GW (11.2 GW hard coal, 10.1 GW lignite, and 0.4 GW asphaltite). Of the coal-fired plants, 10,373 MW (almost all) use imported coal.

The first coal fired power plant in Turkey came online in 1914. The 15 MW Silahtarağa coal fired power plant (Santral) provided power to İstanbul until 1983, by using domestic hard coal mined in Zonguldak. Today, the edifice that was once home to Turkey’s first coal plant is serving as an international platform for arts, culture and learning under santralistanbul

In 1948, Çatalağzı coal-fired power thermal plant (64.5 MW) came online in Zonguldak, the hard coal mining capital of Turkey. During the 70 years since the introduction of Çatalağzı coal plant, two different decades have been crucial in terms of new coal capacity installations in Turkey.

Electricity generation by source, Turkey 1990-2021. Data source: TEİAŞ Electricity Statistics

Turkey Installed Capacity 2017-2021. Data source: TEİAŞ Electricity Statistics

In the 1980s, lignite coal-fired power capacity has increased from 1 GW to 5 GW, with the introduction of Yeniköy, Yatağan, Afşin Elbistan A, Soma B and Çayırhan coal-fired power plants. Throughout the last 20 years since the end of 80s, there has been an incremental increase in lignite capacity, culminating in a total of 9.8 GW. The decade since 2010 has been the decade of imported coal as the installed capacity of imported coal has increased from 1 GW to 9 GW.

Evolution of Hard Coal and Lignite Installed Capacity in Turkey, 1940 – 2021. Data source: TEİAŞ Electricity Statistics

These trends are reflected in the demographics of coal fired power plants in Turkey. 82% of lignite power plants in Turkey are older than 10 years old, and 46% is actually older than 30 years old. On the other hand, 81% of imported coal fired power plants are younger than 10 years old. 

Age of Turkey’s coal fleet by fuel type as of 2020. (Note: “domestic hard coal” includes asphaltite)

In terms of installed coal

In terms of installed coal power plant capacity, Turkey ranks 15th globally. In terms of new coal fired power plants in the pipeline (plants that are announced, in the pre-permit phase or have been permitted), Turkey ranks the 6th globally. The total installed capacity of these projects is 10.6 GW as of the end of 2021. Currently, two coal-fired thermal power plants are under construction in Eskişehir, one with a capacity of 145 MW, and the other in Adana, which has a capacity of 1320 MW. A campaign is being carried out to stop the construction of the Hunutlu Thermal Power Plant in Adana.