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New subsidy scheme for Turkish coal power plants

A new law has been published in Turkey promoting a subsidy scheme that could threaten health of its citizens and the energy future and environmental regulations of the country.

Energy has a critical status in Turkey in the 2023 Vision and Development Plans. Since 2005, the country provides subsidies and grants exemptions to increase the share of coal, especially lignite as indigenous coal, in energy production with the motivation of securing energy supply.

In June 2016 a bill on Energy Markets, provides for increased subsidies for Turkey’s indigenous coal, lignite, and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) legislation for privatised coal power plants until the end of 2019 passed through the Parliament and is expected to be ratified in September.

Article 80 of this new law could lock Turkey’s energy future to coal by granting new exemptions and providing new subsidies to the projects that are defined as "strategic investment" by the Ministry of Economy. According to the law, the Cabinet is entitled to grant exceptions on legislation and licences including EIA’s which is the only law in Turkey covering health and environmental impacts of coal power plants projects, identifying limits on relevant pollutants and providing participation of the public.

Outdoor air pollution created by coal plants threatens several regions of Turkey and results in around 3,000 premature deaths each year [1]. Pollution limits of coal power plant projects are stated only in EIA reports. Article 80 therefore poses a risk to people’s health, access to information and public participation by eliminating EIA and other laws.

To increase public awareness of this threat, HEAL joined Turkish partners in using social media to call on Turkey to protect people’s health. It is estimated that at least 2.2 million people were reached on Twitter and it is expected that Turkish parliamentarians will take the law to the Supreme Court at the end of October.

Last updated on 27 October 2016

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