E.ON and ScottishPower have been awarded government funding in order to develop technologies for clean coal power stations.
The funding is intended to support projects at Kingsnorth and Longannet which are exploring the possibilities of commercial scale carbon capture and storage.
Detailed engineering and design work will assist in ascertaining the potential of carbon capture.
Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband commented: "These two promising projects are at the forefront of the UK's efforts to build one of the first commercial-scale clean coal plants in the world.
"The award of design-stage funding demonstrates our commitment to this breakthrough technology. It has the potential to support tens of thousands of jobs and bring billions into the economy."
Mr Miliband added that it was essential to encourage the development of carbon capture technologies because it is the only method in existence which can tackle carbon emissions from fossil fuel power stations.
Both E.ON and ScottishPower have expressed excitement at helping the UK to become a global leader of clean coal power.
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