New gas plant to be built
Plans to replace the coal fired power station at Cockenzie have been approved by Scottish Ministers.
The existing Scottish Power facility, which is 40 years old and would have had to close by 2015 to comply with European Union legislation, will be demolished and a new high efficiency gas station built in its place.
Around 1,000 jobs will be created in East Lothian, during the demolition and building phase with 50 people needed to run the new 1000 mega watt power station.
Carbon and nitrogen dioxide emissions are expected to be less than half the current totals.
Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer at Scottish Power, said: "This is a major achievement and an important milestone for the project.
"The current coal power station is reaching the end of its operational life and has to close by the end of 2015.
"In the meantime our plans for the gas station will see further development work carried out in the coming months.
"This will fully establish our plans for the site and determine the design and future timetable for the project."
A separate planning application for a 17.5 kilometre pipeline from the existing gas network at East Fortune to the new station has also been given the go ahead.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "Alongside the vast increase in renewable energy that we are working towards, Scotland will still need conventional, clean fossil fuel power to provide a steady supply of electricity. This could be met by new build plant, upgrades to existing plants or a combination of both.
"Cockenzie power station is now over 40 years old. The new gas station will provide a far cleaner source of baseload electricity, with less than half the amount of carbon emissions, creating new jobs in East Lothian and new opportunities for existing Cockenzie staff in the process."
Ways to recover heat produced during the electricity generating process of the new plant are also being explored.
The initial proposals for the East Lothian site went to a public enquiry after 25 objections were received and today's announcement has angered environmental campaigners.
Dr Dan Barlow, WWF Scotland's head of policy, said: "We are extremely disappointed at this announcement. By not requiring any carbon capture from the start this decision risks locking Scotland into decades of unabated climate pollution and jeopardises the Government's firm commitment to decarbonise energy supply by 2030.
"The government's own energy policy shows that Scotland doesn't need any new gas or coal to keep the lights on. If this poor decision is later followed by the approval of a new coal-fired power station at Hunterston then Scotland can kiss goodbye to any credibility it currently has globally as a leader in tackling climate change.
"Despite the Government's claims that it wishes to promote the most efficient use of waste heat in generating electricity this proposal provides no firm commitment to actually recover and use any waste heat. A new fossil-fuelled power plant operating at just over 50 per cent efficiency has absolutely no place in Scotland's power sector."