Renewable energy sources have been important for humans since the beginning of civilisation. For centuries, and in many ways, biomass has been used for heating, and cooking. Many centuries ago, mankind was already utilizing the clearly visible power of water for mechanical drive purposes, as was also the case with wind. Today, water mills are still used in our villages, although their numbers are going to diminish. On the other hand, Turkey is an energy importing country with more than half of the energy requirement being supplied by imports, and air pollution is becoming a great environmental concern in the country. In this regard, renewable energy resources appear to be one of the most efficient and effective solutions for sustainable energy development and environmental pollution prevention in Turkey. Turkey's geographical location has several advantages for extensive use of most of the renewable energy sources. Because of this and the fact that it has limited fossil fuel resources, a gradual shift from fossil fuels to renewables seems to be serious and the sole alternative for Turkey. This article presents a review of recent studies on the renewable energy sources, their potential and present use in Turkey. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.