While previously the concept of sustainable development only consists of the economic development in monetary term, today its meaning is elaborated very largely. It includes food security, new and renewable energy, harmony with nature, promotion of human rights, friendly technological development etc. Therefore, today, the sustainable development can be defined as to meet the needs of the current and future generations without exhausting natural resources by establishing a balance between nature and human beings.
This definition consist of the programming the development of today and future life of the generations and nature. Hence, sustainable development is a concept that has social, economic, ecological and cultural dimension in contemporary world.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the energy consumption, CO2 and harmful emission increased 17 times in the world. The greenhouse effect has been felt more commonly in contemporary world. Since the majority of energy demand was met by fossil based resources, the main reason of the greenhouse effect and harmful emission is the fossil based energy resources. Hence, today the countries have been trying to develop more reliable, harmless and environmentally friendly domestic energy resources to limit the harmful effects of the fossil based resources. Due to the fact that renewable energy resources are harmless, domestic and inexhaustible resources, they gained popularity especially after the emergence of sustainable development concept in 1980s. In table 51 The CO2 emission of the energy resources were given.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions Per kWh of Energy Sources
||Carbon Dioxide Emission (gram)
In terms of environmental sustainability, the renewable energy has the unchallenged superiority against the fossil based resources. Because, in order to produce 1kWh energy, the coal cause 900-1.200 gram emission, oil 700-900 gram and natural gas 350-900 gram emission. However, the renewable energy resources do not produce any carbon emission or their emissions are very little and at the tolerable level, when they are generating energy.
Although some of the writers criticize the hydraulic and wind energy for their harm to environment, such as migratory bird death and noise, they are not permanent effects. In addition, their side effects are very little compared to fossil based resources and today lots of the harmful effect of these two resources can be eliminated. Therefore, in terms of environmental sustainability, Turkey should increase renewable energy investment and its share in total energy supply. Because, our country is the 13th country in the carbon emission in the world and it has the highest emission increase ratio in the world between the 1990-2010 years. To fulfill the obligation of Kyoto Protocol, Turkey has to find new and clean energy resources.
Comparing with the EU countries Turkey’s renewable energy potential is very substantial. The solar, winds, geothermal and hydraulic energy potential of country can contribute its sustainable development in term of environmental sustainability. They are not only clean but also domestic and do not have side effect like being fossil based resources. Therefore, renewable potential of Turkey should be evaluated as soon as possible. To increase renewable energy investment is not only necessity but also obligatory for our country to fulfill its international obligation and to protect its environment.