The Turkish government is taking steps to reduce its dependency on gas imports, particularly from Russia’s Gazprom and is hoping a switch to coal power will prove sufficient.

In a bid to secure an alternative to expensive gas from Russia and Iran, Turkey has signed a $12bn deal with the UAE that’s set to boost coal-fired power capacity by 67 per cent.

Ankara signed the deal with TAQA to mine lignite coal and by 2020 build new power plants capable of generating up to 8000 MW.

The European Association for Coal and Lignite, or Euracoal, said Turkey imports more than 70 per cent of its primary energy needs.

Natural gas imports, mainly from Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan, meet about 45 percent of Turkey’s demand for heat and power, according to the IEA, a dependency that comes with frequent price disputes with suppliers.

In another sign that Turkey’s policymakers are keen to reduce dependence on gas imports, the government said in December that it would not take part in Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project.

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