The company behind a planned new power station on the edge of Plymouth has won more time to agree final details of the scheme with South Hams Council.
The new station is expected to create 2,000 jobs
Centrica's controversial £400m Langage power station has been on the drawing board for seven years and already has outline planning consent.
If the Department of Trade and Industry had not allowed an extension, consent would have been needed again.
It has angered local opponents who have long campaigned against the scheme.
'Hostage to fortune'
Plymouth City councillor Dr David Salter, from the Centrica Langage Local Liaison Committee, said: "I was astounded to hear that the five year deadline for starting work on the proposed Langage Power Station, due to run out on 15 November, has now been extended by the DTI.
"I know of no-one locally who was informed of this, not even our local MP, Gary Streeter; nor me as the elected representative of 10,000 adults and children who live in Chaddlewood - right beside where one of Britain's largest fossil-fuel power stations may be built.
"Despite five years of local protests, it seems the DTI is determined to impose, right on our doorstep, a white elephant from the last century.
"And it will be a real hostage to fortune as increasingly expensive gas needs to be brought in by long and vulnerable pipelines from Norway and Siberia.
"The DTI should not have rewarded lack of progress by letting Centrica off the hook."
The plant is expected to create up to 2,000 new jobs.