As discussions about climate change continue to advance, more people are becoming educated on the importance of air quality. A number of factors can influence the air we breathe including emissions from vehicles, manufacturing factories and, of course, power plants.
Compliance with air quality regulations is a basic expectation of our community. As a result, the air quality in Colorado Springs is among the best of all the cities in Colorado, and we plan to do our part to keep it that way.
For decades, we have worked with the State of Colorado to measure the effects of population growth, energy production and increased transportation on air quality in the Pikes Peak region. Our air quality is continuously monitored by a station in the Colorado Springs area. These procedures and equipment are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Emissions from our power plants are lower today than ever due to the combination of these measures.
- The Martin Drake Power Plant was one of the first in Colorado to install soot-removing baghouses to remove particulate pollution. This technology was also installed at the Nixon Power Plant when it was constructed. Baghouses collect more than 99.8 percent of fly ash. This technology is one reason these units continue to qualify as low emitters under state and federal regulations for control of mercury.
- Both our coal-fired power plants, Martin Drake and Ray Nixon, use very low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, which results in lower sulfur emissions.
- Sulfur-removing scrubbers have been installed at Drake and Nixon. As a result, sulfur dioxide levels from Drake are being reduced by 95 percent from 2005 levels. At Nixon, these levels have dropped by 75 percent from 1998 levels.
- Over-fire air and ultra-low nitrogen oxide burners have been installed at both coal-fired plants. These controls have reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 83 percent from Drake and 68 percent from Nixon.
- As a result of our latest efforts to reduce emissions, Drake and Nixon are demonstrating compliance for both sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide with Colorado's Regional Haze Compliance Schedule.