Consumer Attitudes Towards Renewable Energy: A Study in Turkey

Consumer Attitudes Towards Renewable Energy: A Study in Turkey

Ulas Akkucuk (Bogazici University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5757-9.ch004

Abstract

This chapter attempts to study the view of Turkish consumers towards various types of renewable energy production methods and to assess whether consumers will pay premium prices for different types of renewable sources. The chapter makes use of an online survey for data collection. 927 responses were collected in total during 2015. 92% of the respondents state that they believe in global warming. The results indicate that one-fourth of the consumers are not willing to pay anything extra if electricity is obtained from renewable sources. However, almost half thinks that they could pay 5% to 10% more. In terms of the importance placed by the consumers on different means of electricity generation by renewable sources, the highest importance is placed on solar energy, followed by wind, biomass, and hydroelectric. Policy makers in the public and private sectors can consider these results when making changes to the current energy generation and distribution infrastructure.
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Introduction

There is growing concern over global warming all around the world. As a result of these concerns alternative ways of creating electrical energy are being explored and in some cases governments are providing incentives for these. The 2020 initiative of the European Union requires that 20% of the electricity generation come from renewables in addition to requiring 10% of the transportation fuels to come from renewable sources (EU, 2009). The 2030 targets take this one step further and require a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels, at least a 27% share of renewable energy consumption and at least 27% energy savings compared with the way things are currently going (EU, 2016a). According to data from Eurostat, the total share of renewable energy in the EU in 2012 was 14.1%, up from 8.7% in 2005 (EU, 2016b). Although Turkey has a huge potential of renewable energy resources, the progress of the energy market is still slow such that it’s not widespread and integrated to urban planning (Okay, 2016). Using renewable energy wisely can also be an important tool for Turkey’s global competitive position (Akkucuk, 2014a; 2014b; 2011a). Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are also important for promoting every aspect of sustainability including using renewable energy wisely (Akkucuk & Sekercioglu, 2016; Akkucuk & Gencer, 2017).

In Turkey the energy market was marked by privatization in the last 10-20 years. Most of the energy producers are owned by private companies. The energy is sold to the centralized distribution company at an auction by the producers and the regional distributors sell the electricity at a government determined rate to the final consumers. In some cases the final consumers whose average monthly bills exceed a certain quantity may choose their providers, or in other cases billing may be different according to the time of day. With the aforementioned exceptions electricity is billed to consumers at 39 kuruş/KwH (or about 12 Euro cents).

In terms of the composition of energy production in Turkey, the most important element as a renewable course if hydroelectric energy production. Solar and wind energy are unfortunately not utilized to a great extent in Turkey. With respect to total “capacity” in terms of Megawatts Turkey has 73,147.6 MW of production capacity in 2015. In this overall capacity wind energy only has 6.2% and solar has 0.3% share. On the other hand hydroelectric power (due mainly to Turkey’s geographical structure) has 35.4% share. Geothermal, which is another fossil free energy source, has a share of 0.9%. The rest of the capacity (more than half) therefore comes from fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and others. When it comes to actual production (rather than technical capacity) we see that the fossil fuels gain even a bigger share. From 1/1/2015 to 31/12/2015 there has been production of 259,610,000 MWh of electricity. Of this 4.4% came from wind, 1.3% geothermal and 25.8% hydroelectric. Solar is not even accounted for in the report because the theoretical maximum capacity cannot be realized. Again roughly 70% of the “actual” production comes from fossil fuel related energy sources. Table 1 and Table 2 provide the detailed breakdown of the numbers both in terms of capacity and actual production for the year 2015.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainable Operations: Performance measures and continuous improvement are the components necessary to translate sustainable corporate strategy into sustainable operations, using an integrated quality, environmental, and safety management system. Sustainable operations entail total quality management, sustainability, environmental stewardship, and process safety.

Remanufacturing: To disassemble a used product completely and inspect all modules and parts. Worn out parts are replaced to bring the quality standard of final product to like-new condition.

Consumer Willingness to Pay: Is the maximum price at or below which a consumer will definitely buy one unit of the product. In this chapter, the WTP for renewable energy products are examined.

LCEA: Life cycle energy analysis is an approach in which all energy inputs to a product are accounted for, not only direct energy inputs during manufacture, but also all energy inputs needed to produce components, materials, and services needed for the manufacturing process.

EPR: Acronym for extended producer responsibility, EPR producers are responsible for their products even after their useful life.

LCA: Life cycle analysis is a technique to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product, process, or service, by (1) compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases, (2) evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with identified inputs and releases, (3) interpreting the results to help you make a more informed decision.

Green SCOR: An extension of the SCOR (supply chain operations reference) model to cover environmental areas and sustainability issues for the logistics and production related areas.

Turkey: A country of 78 million 741 thousand people as of December 31, 2015 located on the two continents of Asia and Europe.

Renewable Energy: Is generally defined as energy that is collected from resources that are naturally replenished in much less time compared to fossil fuels, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.

DFE: Acronym for design for environment, DFE involves designing products from recycled materials, using components that can be recycled, designing a product easier to repair than discard, and minimize unnecessary packaging.

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