Turkey smart grid 2023 - digitising the distribution network

Engerati was in Istanbul, Turkey, this quarter, learning about how Turkish utilities are digitising distribution grid assets.
Published: Fri 11 May 2018

In five years’ time, the Republic of Turkey will mark its centenary. As part of a vision to become a top-tier global economy, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has created the ‘Turkey Smart Grids 2023 Vision and Strategy Roadmap Project’ to support the country in its energy transition. 

The goals outlined in the project are a result of consultation with the country’s 21 distribution system operators (DSOs), the national regulator Energy Market regulatory Authority (EMRA) and Elder, the association for distribution utilities.

As a part May's Engerati Quarterly, our quarterly interactive publication, we explored the needs of the local distribution utilities, the country’s vision and the technology players working in the region, based on interviews and discussions at an event in Turkey.

Among the issues raised by the DSOs were a low volume of pilots to test smart grid technology; the ineffective management of big-scale data and its utilisation in decision-making processes as well as a lack of skilled personnel to deploy digitised solutions and effective ways to share best practice between utilities.

At the launch of the roadmap in Istanbul, leading figures in the distribution utility market confirmed that the country faces challenges to digitising its network citing “companies underperforming in operational and information technology integration” as well as a lack of private networks for data communications. Turkish DSOs currently rely on public networks.

The country’s roadmap forms part of a move to liberalise and privatise the electricity market, which began in 2001, with the division of the country's distribution network into 21 regions in 2013. From 2018, customers who use more than 2,000kWh of electricity per year will have the right to switch power suppliers, according to news agency Anadolu Agency.

Featuring insights from Ugur Yuksel, Secretary-General of the Association of Electricity Distribution System Operators (Elder) and a variety of key stakeholders in Turkey's distribution system, we spotlight the various ways Turkey is approaching its energy transition and asks why it may be taking a more measured approach. 

To learn more about the exciting developments taking place in Turkey, read the full article in Engerati Quarterly, and for our video content from the event, see our YouTube playlist.