Thousands of people and a broad coalition of environmental groups had joined together to oppose a scheme by Ayrshire Power Limited (APL) to construct the £3 billion plant at Hunterston in North Ayrshire.
The company said yesterday it had abandoned the plans amid doubts it could secure the necessary financial investment to build the power station in the foreseeable economic climate.
It means there will no longer be the need for a lengthy and costly Scottish Government inquiry after the local council refused to grant planning permission.
The decision also calls into question the SNP's energy policy, which includes a commitment to meet the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.
The power plant would have been used to pioneer untested carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to pipe CO2 pollution under the ground,
Tim Cowan, co-chairman of Conch, the local pressure group formed to oppose the power plant, said: "We're delighted by this news. It's not just a victory for climate justice, it's a victory for ordinary people."
APL insists the Hunterston plant could have met the energy needs of up to three million homes and provided employment for around 160 people once the site was up and running.
However, they had admitted the power station would not have been 100% emission-free when it started generating electricity, raising fears over the amount of pollution it would create.
After being rejected by the local council, the company had hoped to persuade the Scottish Government to grant planning permission. However, it has now abandoned its plans.
Muir Miller, APL's project director, said: "Whilst we believe we have a strong case to succeed in the planning inquiry, we cannot proceed with the significant risk that the current power station design and fuel mix could not be funded and built in the necessary timetable following the grant of consent.
"Hunterston remains an ideal location for such a power station. However, the timing of the economic slowdown and funding uncertainty have not worked in our favour. We will now take some time to consider our options and determine under what circumstances we will revisit our proposals."
Among those who had made formal objections to the plans were the Church of Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Greenpeace, the RSPB Scotland, and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland, who had also voiced objections, said: "APL has seen sense. The last thing we need is a new coal-fired power station hiding behind a green fig leaf."
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, added: "APL had failed to justify the need for a new fossil fuel power station so their climbdown is welcome, if extremely overdue."
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "The decision not to take the current Hunterston coal power station project application forward - is a commercial decision for Ayrshire Power Limited.
"The Scottish Government supports CCS as a critical new technology to transform the way we generate power, help reduce carbon emissions and ensure security of supply."