Three new power stations have been approved for construction - each will be designed to have carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology retrofitted to them, but they will not supply combined heat and power.
The three new power stations will supply power to some 4M homes at:
Pembroke, South West Wales a 2,000 MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station by RWE npower
Hatfield, Yorkshire a 900 MW integrated coal gasification gas-fired power station by Powerfuel Power Ltd
King's Lynn, Norfolk a 1,020 MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power by Centrica Leasing (KL) Ltd
These will produce a total of 3.9GW of power, some way short of the 12GW expected to be retired by 2015.
Energy minister Mike O'Brien said: "It is essential to replace older polluting power stations that are reaching the end of their lives with new stations that operate more efficiently. We welcome the investment from energy companies to do this.
"Investment like this in the energy sector will create new engineering and construction jobs. Each of the companies granted consent has indicated that the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry will be a key consideration in the contracts they award.
"These power stations will generate energy for four million homes for decades to come," he said.
Each power station agreed during the planning process that they will have the necessary land available to retrofit a carbon capture and storage plant for future use.
Consent was also given to build a second phase at Hatfield consisting of an integrated coal gasification combined cycle power station, which will use coal to produce hydrogen to fuel the station.
However, director of the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Association Graham Meeks said the announcement was short-sighted:
"There is no question that these new power stations are vital in meeting the projected shortfalls in electricity supply. But in the future we can do much better than simply building power stations that waste more than half the energy they consume.
"The Government has the choice. We could simply build power stations. Or with the certainty of clear investment signals for CHP, we could be investing in a sustainable energy infrastructure that could help secure thousands of jobs in UK manufacturing for the next twenty years," he said.