Turkey’s electricity mix is dominated by fossil fuels, but the country has ambitious future targets for renewable and nuclear energy. At present, environmental impacts of electricity generation in Turkey are unknown so this paper represents a first attempt to fill this knowledge gap. Taking a life cycle approach, the study considers eleven impacts from electricity generation over the period 1990–2014. All 516 power plants currently operational in Turkey are assessed: lignite, hard coal, natural gas, hydro, onshore wind and geothermal. The results show that the annual impacts from electricity have been going up steadily over the period, increasing by 2–9 times, with the global warming potential being higher by a factor of five. This is due to a four-fold increase in electricity demand and a growing share of fossil fuels. The impact trends per unit of electricity generated differ from those for the annual impacts, with only four impacts being higher today than in 1990, including the global warming potential. Most other impacts are lower from 35% to two times. These findings demonstrate the need for diversifying the electricity mix by increasing the share of domestically-abundant renewable resources, such as geothermal, wind, and solar energy.
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