The hearing, which may not be held for several months, follows the unanimous rejection by North Ayrshire councillors of the £3billion Hunterston plant on the Ayrshire coast.
With First Minister Alex Salmond having pledged to make Scotland 100% dependent on so-called clean energy sources by 2020, the delay could threaten the Government's reliance on renewables and highlights the issue of back-up energy.
The Scottish Government is already under fire for its over-reliance on wind power, which requires back-up from conventional sources.
The new plans for a power station at Hunterston employing as yet untested carbon-capture technology received 21,000 written objections, the highest figure on record.
A packed meeting at North Ayrshire Council's headquarters heard from Jim Miller, the chief management development officer, who criticised Ayrshire Power's plans for containing "insufficient evidence".
Chief among the reasons for throwing out the plans were that the plant would not produce 100% emission-free coal from "day one" and would contribute to climate change; and that there was a lack of benefit to the community when weighed against the impact it would have on the environment.