By Murat Temizer
With Turkey's National Energy and Mine Policy supporting greater domestic coal use, its share of the total electricity production will increase, according to Prof. Dr. Erdal Tanas Karagol from the economics department of Yildirim Beyazit University on Friday.
Karagol told Anadolu Agency that an increased share in domestic coal for electricity production would provide advantages to Turkish customers through decreased costs in their energy bills.
He asserted that Turkey has the technology to mine domestic coal, and with average expenditure of $55 billion on energy and mining imports in the last 10 years, he said it was "odd that the country imports about 18 billion tons of coal reserves and around 40 million tons of coal annually".
He declared that with rising oil prices, domestic coal projects should be supported to reduce Turkey's energy import bill in the future.
He also said that new domestic coal projects would increase employment and help the Turkish economy.
Karagol also favors adding additional coal reserve areas for exploitation with the aim of increasing production and employment in all coal-rich areas including the Zonguldak-Amasra region.
"We know that domestic coal production strategy will not be privatized in this sector and existing institutions won't be closed. On the contrary, it will bring new job opportunities," he explained.
Turkey is actively ensuring the country's resource diversity through investments not only in local coal but also through renewable energy.
"The fact that domestic coal is on the agenda now does not mean that renewable energy has been removed from the investment agenda. The country sees both areas as important," he added.