Behind the notion of "externalities", the often overlooked, real costs of coal power production are paid with human life, social, economic and cultural assets, ecosystem destruction and climate change. With its coal production facilities and three coal-fired power plants, the province of Muğla has become an open-air laboratory that exposes the impacts and dangers of coal, and reveals its alternatives.

About the Research

Coal is one of the most important factors that has been shaping the historical geography of Muğla for the last 35 years as the province hosts three coal-fired power plants and several lignite mines that provide fuel to these power plants.


This geographical transformation has brought about heavy ecological, social and economic burdens. These three coal-fired power plants, that were privatized as they were nearing retirement age, are planned to go through rehabilitation, along with capacity increase, in 2019. This can mean a further life extension of 25 years for these coal-fired power plants that should have been retired long ago, which can in turn lead to the permanent damage of natural and living environments through the expansion of existing coal mines and ash dams, adding to the stress caused by coal-fired power plants.


Within the context of the extensive research launched in 2018, The Real Costs of Coal reveals the real costs of coal-fired power plants borne by the environment and society and presents the province of Muğla as a case study. The study indicates that we can put an end to the costs that are generally defined as “externalities” and disregarded in the coal-based energy production policies and investments, pointing out to available alternatives.

The Costs of Coal

The Health Cost
of Coal

Currently, air pollution from coal-fired power plants causes 280 premature deaths per year; and a total of 61,000 disease and premature death-related job losses.

Climate Change Impacts of Coal

We all, globally bear the costs of climate change caused by greenhouse gases emitted during the extraction, transport and burning of coal.

The Environmental Cost of Coal

Assessing coal’s impacts to the environment in Muğla requires a holistic approach to the impacts of coal mines and coal-fired power plants.

The Social and Cultural Cost of Coal

In the last 35 years, eight villages were forced to displace –some more than once- when coal mines became operational.

The Coal Burden on National Economy

In addition to air, water and soil pollution, and the societal, social and ecological burdens coal mines and other coal power plant facilities create, coal-fired power plants also weigh heavily on national economies through various state subsidies and incentives.

Infringement of Environmental and Health Rights

Muğla holds historical importance in the development of ecological awareness and activism. The Yatağan and Gökova resistances, which carried the grassroots anti-coal power plant movement through legal as well as...

What We Want?


Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Future

NASA’s current studies indicate that even the northern parts of Turkey possess solar energy potential comparable to some parts of Spain, Italy, and Greece, Europe’s leading solar electricity generation centers.


Access to Information/Transparency


The real extent of the pollution (total pollution load) that has accumulated in the last years in this region is unknown. The periodic monitoring and control of the environmental performance indicators of the coal mine and coal power plants is the responsibility of the supervising state institutions.


Recognition of Coal's Lifetime Impacts


Measuring the impacts of coal from the moment its extracted until it is burnt and produces waste reveals a more realistic extent of the true costs. However, during the Environmental Impact Assessments and project review stages, the impacts of coal mines and other polluting sources are ignored.

The coal burnt to generate electricity in Yatağan, Yeniköy, Kemerköy power plants, emitted 9.5 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 890,000 tons of nitrogen oxide and 28,000 kilograms of mercury between 1983 and 2017;

If every coal-fired power plant remains operational until they are 50 years of age, the air pollution they cause will lead to 5,300 additional premature deaths, even if environmental investments comply with regulations.

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