ScottishPower today (17 May) unveiled a feasibility study to convert its two biggest power stations to clean coal technology in what would be the largest project of its type in Europe.

Alstom Power and Doosan Babcock will provide the design input for the 'supercritical' turbines and boilers that could be fitted at the Longannet and Cockenzie power plants.

Carbon emissions would be reduced by 20% at the stations which have a total generation capacity of 3390MW, more than a quarter of Scotland's electricity needs.

The new 'supercritical' turbines and boilers, which will burn coal at ultra-high temperatures and pressure, may be built within the existing power station buildings in Fife and East Lothian. If a decision to proceed is taken, it would involve large-scale investments by ScottishPower. Last month ScottishPower and Iberdrola completed a transaction that created Europe's third largest electricity group by enterprise value.

Speaking at Longannet power station today where he met and discussed the plans with new Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, Iberdrola Chairman and Chief Executive, Ignacio Galán, said: “As a world leader in renewable energy Iberdrola is committed to developing the best environmental and technological practices. We are delighted that today's announcement puts ScottishPower on track to deliver a revolutionary change in low carbon energy generation in Scotland”.