Colorado

Jun 27, 2014 1:24 AM by Maddie Garrett

Public Weighs in on How and When to Decommission Drake Power Plant

It's not a matter of if the Martin Drake Power Plant will be decommissioned, but when. A public meeting held Thursday night was held to discuss that timeline on how and when the Colorado Springs Power Plant should be shut down.

The Colorado Springs Utilities Board hosted the meeting, in conjunction with the Drake Task Force, that's working on plans and a timeline for Drake's decommission. The power plant has been generating base line utilities for the city for over 60 years.

And as crews work around the clock to fix Drake after a fire shut it down in May, some people at the meeting said, it should never come back online.

"Keep Drake closed, take the generators and the turbines that are the most valuable thing in that plant, move them to Nixon, hook them up and burn natural gas there and that solves two problems," said David Justice.

Justice, who wants to see Drake shut down, presented one idea of many on what to do with the aging power plant and how to move away from coal to cleaner fuel sources.

"I definitely think Drake needs to be decommissioned," said Carol Sturman, President and Chairman of Sturman Industries.

Sturman has a vested interest in seeing Drake closed, as her company weighs in on how to provide other solutions to finding alternative energy sources, like wind, solar and natural gas.

"How can you answer the entire energy problem in a way that works, that helps users like businesses and citizens so it's not too expensive but still answers the problems?" Sturman said after the meeting.

But not everyone thinks Drake's days should be numbered so quickly. Greg Tabor attended the meeting, and said the City should keep Drake online as long as possible because it provides a reliable and affordable source of energy.

"I realize that there are trade offs and there are soft costs to our community and to health, and we've lived with those costs for as long as Drake has been there, and I'm not sure we need to make a rash decision because of a fire," said Tabor.

The Task Force has conducted studies on decommissioning Drake and there are plans and timelines that range from shutting it down as soon as in nine years, to plans that keep it running for another 30 years. For more on the Drake Task Force, go to the website: http://www.draketaskforce.net/

The Task Force is supposed to present it's final plan and timeline to the Springs Utilities Board in the coming month.

 

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