Sustainable energy plan approved, Martin Drake Power Plant to close in three years

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COLORADO SPRINGS — The city of Colorado Springs is parting ways with all coal generation and moving towards a new sustainable energy plan. Aligned with the utility’s Energy Vision, the plan achieves an 80 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and decommissions all Springs utility coal generation by 2030, including the downtown Martin Drake Power Plant no later than 2023.

The Colorado Springs Utilities voted 7 to 2 on Friday in favor.

“We as a community care about cost and we care about reliability and we really care about innovation and we care about resiliency,” Springs Utilities Chairwoman Jill Gaebler said.

Gaebler says this plan has been in the works for nearly two years. It comes as the state placed requirements on Utilities to cut emissions by 80 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050.

“It certainly weighed heavily on our decision making today,” Gaebler said.

The biggest change, closing down the downtown Martin Drake Power Plant, which has provided energy to Colorado Springs for nearly 50 years.

80 of it’s employees will be relocated within Colorado Springs Utility (CSU).

“It’s not the cleanest energy and it’s now cost-efficient and it’s economically the best decision to close down Drake,” Gaebler said.

CSU says customers will benefit from the change.

“It’s not going to raise our rates and more resiliency so we really have the best utilities that provide solid electricity for our community and that’s not gonna change,” Gaebler said.

In a statement, Governor Jared Polis applauded the move.

“Colorado is rapidly moving toward meeting our bold goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2040 that will help create good green jobs and protect the air we breathe. So far this has been a revolutionary year for the transition away from coal-fired electricity towards cleaner sources of renewable energy,” said Gov. Polis “This bipartisan decision is a strong step for the Colorado Springs community, for our state and for our planet. Colorado continues to set an example for the rest of our country when it comes to renewable energy and climate action, and this announcement comes in the wake of numerous electric utilities across the state committing to a transition to clean energy. The pathway toward achieving our goals of protecting our environment and our communities is driven by a bold, swift transition to renewable energy.”

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