In this study, energy utilization and its major environmental impacts are discussed from the standpoint of sustainable development, including anticipated patterns of future energy use and subsequent environmental issues in Turkey. Several aspects relating to energy utilization, renewable energy, energy efficiency, environment and sustainable development are examined from both current and future perspectives. Turkey is an energy importing country, more than half of the energy requirement has been supplied by imports. Domestic oil and lignite reserves are limited, and the lignites are characterised by high ash, sulfur and moisture content. Because of increasing energy consumption, environmental pollution is becoming a serious problem in the future for 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 these renewable energy sources. Especially hydropower, biomass, geothermal, solar and wind energy should be considered and seriously supported by governments and private sectors. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.