Turkey is hoping that a planned coal-fired power plant will help it to meet rapidly rising electricity demand.

Turkish engineering firm Mimag-Samko and Suez Energy International have signed an agreement to build, develop and operate a plant with a capacity of between 800 and 1300 MW. They hope the plant, which will use imported coal, will be operational by 2013.

The two companies are currently analysing possible locations for the plant and intend to start applying for permits in the next few months. They will invest a total of $1500 million in the project, and say that the plant will be among the cheapest and most efficient thermal generating units in Turkey.

Demand for power in Turkey is rising at five per cent per year, and most new generating capacity in recent years has been natural gas fired. The country is also planning to add nuclear power to its generation mix.

Suez Energy International is already present in Turkey’s power sector with a 95 per cent interest in Baymina, a 770 MW gas fired plant.