We have the technology, expertise and dedicated staff to retire the Martin Drake Power Plant and continue adding more environmentally friendly generation to our system.
While we can’t close the plant tomorrow, we have an experienced team now planning and putting the infrastructure in place to efficiently and safely decommission and deconstruct it. This includes researching our options to deliver power back to the heart of the city where Drake is located. Our primary focus is to ensure reliable electric service for our customers once the plant is closed.
In our estimates, the earliest these required transmission projects can be completed is the end of 2023.
Before then, we must determine the best options for replacement generation through our Electric Integrated Resource Plan. To be finished by August 2020, this plan will lay the groundwork for a responsible and diversified energy mix for the next 20 years.
Meanwhile, the plant continues to meet strict state and federal air quality standards. We have made significant investments in the plant over the past few years to comply with new emissions limits.
Colorado Springs residents enjoy some of the best air quality among all Colorado’s cities. It’s one of the reasons people choose to live here. We recognize this, and are proud of our continued work to improve the region’s air quality.
The electric industry is rapidly changing. Renewable energy and battery storage are becoming more competitive per kilowatt hour compared to natural gas and coal prices.
We will soon announce the addition of two renewable projects, bringing our solar energy total to 130 megawatts. This addition will bring our renewable energy generation to 20 percent of our average system load. We are also evaluating proposals to add more renewable energy in the coming years to include battery storage solutions.
Under Utilities Board direction, the Drake Power Plant is slated to close no later than 2035. Whether it occurs then, or earlier, we will continue to provide our customers with affordable, reliable and more environmentally friendly sources of energy.