Mr del Valle said that while the government’s support for new coal-based power is encouraging, exisiting plants will play a key role in maintaining the security of supply as newer plants come online.

He also noted that ScottishPower has committed E900 million over the next three years in a bid to improve its existing generation infrastructure.

Mr del Valle said: Our feasibility study into the possible super critical upgrade of the Cockenzie and Longannet power plants is ongoing; however, in the meantime, ScottishPower is considering its options regarding an entry to the government’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition.