The Martin Drake Power Plant is a great resource for us – providing reliable, low-cost power for our community – for almost a century. As renewable energy and new technologies have evolved in the electric industry, so too have the perceptions and values of our customers. We understand this.
In 2016, through our Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP), the Utilities Board set a decommissioning date for the Drake Power Plant no later than 2035. The EIRP process required a tremendous amount of research, planning, forecasting and public input. The result was a long-term plan designed to meet our future energy demands, focusing on the delivery of safe, reliable power that is respectful of the environment while minimizing costs to our customers.
Fast forward a year. Leadership on our Utilities Board has changed and the discussion to accelerate the decommissioning of the power plant has evolved.
Between now and the end of the year, we will be evaluating a number of decommissioning options for the plant. Under the direction from our Strategic Planning Committee, comprised of a few members of the Utilities Board, we will present decommissioning scenarios to the full Utilities Board throughout the year, with final scenarios presented in December for evaluation. These scenarios will take into consideration items like rate impacts, utility uses for the site and downtown revitalization plans.
The best part of this process is that you will have a chance to make your voice heard. As a municipal utility, we want to hear what you think about decommissioning the plant. We encourage our customers to participate in the process – attend a Utilities Board meeting, call us and follow us Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.
Determining a decommissioning date for the power plant is just the beginning – we can’t just flip a switch and turn it off. The Drake Power Plant provides about one-quarter of our power needs and we will need to replace this resource with something else.
We will be very mindful and vigilant as to when and how we decommission the plant and determining the resources that replace it. After all, this decision will impact all of us.