Geothermal power in Turkey
Geothermal energy is thermal energy which is derived from the earth's internal heat. Geothermal power in Turkey began in the 1970s in a prototype plant following systematic exploration of geothermal fields. In the 1980s, a first power plant has grown up out of the pilot facility.Turkey is ranked seventh richest country in the world in geothermal potential. The small-sized geothermal power plant was expanded to the country's biggest one in 2013. Currently, two power plants operate in Turkey. Its theoretical geothermal potential is 60GW  and potential is 4.5GW  In addition to electric power generation, geothermal heat is used directly.
The high geothermal potential is due to geology such as the Western Anatolian Graben systems. However "many of Turkey’s existing geothermal plants are situated on reservoirs where the carbon content of non-condensable gases (NCGs) in the geothermal fluids are high", therefore care must be taken to avoid excessive carbon emissions.
In 1965, the state-owned Turkish Mineral Research and Exploration Co. began with the first geological and geophysical surveys in southwestern Turkey. The Kızıldere geothermal reservoir, a field on the western branch of Büyük Menderes Graben, was discovered in 1968 as a geothermal field suitable for electricity generation. The first power plant was built as a prototype facility in 1974 with 500 kW intalled capacity. The generated electricity was distributed to the households in the vicinity free of charge. The state-owned Elektrik Üretim A.Ş. (EÜAŞ) enlarged the installed capacity up to 17.4 MW in 1984. However, the average actual power was around 10 MW. In 2008, the power plant was transferred to Zorlu Energy in the frame of privatization. Zorlu Energy obtained the right of operating lease for 30 years, and increased the capacity from 6 MW to 15 within a short time. The company invested US$250 million to expand the facility. In December 2013, the Kızıldere Geothermal Power Plant reached an installed capacity of 95 MW making it Turkey's biggest.
As of 2005, Turkey had the 5th highest direct usage and capacity of geothermal energy in the world. Turkey's capacity as of 2005 is 1,495 MWt with a usage of 24,839.9 TJ/year or 6,900.5 GWh/year at a capacity factor of 0.53. Most of this is in the form of direct-use heating however geothermal electricity is currently produced at the Kizildere plant in the province of Denizli producing 120,000 tons of liquid carbon dioxide and dry ice. As of 2006 and 2010, there were two plants generating 8.5 and 11.5 MWe respectively, in Aydın.
The direct-use heating has been mostly district heating serving 103,000 residences (827 MWt and 7712.7 TJ/year). There is also individual space heating (74 MWt and 816.8 TJ/year); 800,000 m2 of heated greenhouses (192 MWt and 3,633 TJ/year); and 215 balneological facilities, 54 spas, bathing and swimming pools (402 MWt and 12,677.4 TJ/year). It is stated that at least 1.5 million houses, currently heated by natural gas, can switch to being heated by thermal waters.
In 2010 the installed geothermal electricity generation capacity was 100 MWe while direct use installations were approximately 795 MWt.
Power plants in operation
- Gümüşköy Geothermal Power Plant, Germencik, Aydın Province
- Kızıldere Geothermal Power Plant, Sarayköy, Denizli Province
An international conference is currently held annually.
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- Serpen, Umran; Aksoy, Niyazi; Öngür, Tahir (February 1–2, 2010). "2010 Present Status of Geothermal Energy in Turkey" (PDF). Proceedings of the Thirty-fifth Workship on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering. Stanford, California: Stanford University.
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- GeoPower Global Congress. Istanbul, Turkey: Green Power. 1–3 December 2015.
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