SCOTTISH & Southern Energy has bought a gas-fired power station in Fife for (pounds) 12.3m, securing 10 jobs.

The 120-megawatt Fife Power station at Cardenden was owned by US-based Fife Energy and the Cayman Islands investment company El Paso, but it has been in administration since January 2003.

Fife Energy bought the site, formerly British Gas's Westfield Development Centre, in a (pounds) 10m deal in 1992.

Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, said: ''The acquisition of a smaller station such as Fife Power will provide further diversity of plant mix within our generation portfolio, particularly in the mid-merit sector.

''The introduction of the new electricity trading rules in April 2005 will remove interconnector constraints, and the value of Fife to SSE's generation portfolio can be further optimised.''

SSE said it plans to spend up to (pounds) 3m to upgrade the plant and reinforce its operational performance.

The acquisition, which follows the (pounds) 242m deal to acquire 100% ownership of Medway Power in October 2003, means that SSE now has the fifth-largest portfolio of power stations in the UK.

Meanwhile, Alistair Darling MP, secretary of state for Scotland, formally opened the refurbished Aigas power station at Kilmorack, Inverness-shire. SSE's subsidiary Scottish Hydro-Electric has spent (pounds) 10m upgrading the station.