Scottish energy minister, Fergus Ewing, has told BBC Radio Scotland that the coal-fired power plant at Longannet in Fife, could continue operating until 2025.
Longannet is the third largest coal-fired power plant in Europe, using up to 1000 tph of coal.
Plans to use carbon capture and storage (CCS) techniques, then store captured carbon emissions beneath the North Sea, have stalled.
Ewing said that the successful development of CCS technology was vital to reducing carbon emissions.
The energy minister said, “If you look at the European position as a whole, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has made it clear that, without CCS, it will be difficult or impossible for [carbon emissions] targets to be achieved.”
“CCS is not an add on option, it is an essential part of a long-term, low carbon electricity generation policy.”
Longannet first opened in 1969 and began operations in 1973. The plant has four 600 MW turbines, with a net electricity output of 2304 MW. The power plant is currently experiencing a major overhaul, as operators look to improve the plant’s efficienty and environmental performance.
Neil Clitheroe, CEO of Scottish Power Retail and Generation, said Longannet continued to play “a pivotal role” in producing electricity.
“The work over the summer this year will help [Longannet] remain an important part of Scotland’s energy mix,” Clitheroe said.
Edited from various sources by Samuel Dodson
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