In the world of energy planning, one size certainly doesn’t fit all. Colorado Springs is just one of 2,000 cities and towns that obtain their electricity through public power – or electricity that’s generated from a community-owned and operated utility. Each city is different and reflects the values and assets available to its utility. At Colorado Springs Utilities, we address our community’s electric needs through the Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP), which is designed to meet our future-energy demand. The result is a plan that focuses on safe, reliable power that is respectful of the environment, while minimizing costs to ratepayers.
As a requirement for purchasing federal hydroelectric power from the Western Area Power Administration, we must conduct a thorough technical analysis and diligent public process once every five years. Changing factors, such as regulations, cost of service, new technologies and customer preference, could trigger an EIRP update at any time.
The long process required to develop the EIRP requires a great deal of research, planning and forecasting; public input from customers in addition to a Customer Advisory Group, representative of residential, commercial and military interests; and direction from the Utilities Board.
With the final decision made by the Utilities Board in January 2016, the EIRP now provides us with direction on where to go from here. This includes:
- generating 20 percent of our energy by renewable sources by 2020, with a 1-percent bill impact cap;
- providing incentives and programs that will reduce the average customer energy use by 12 percent, with a 2-percent bill impact cap; and,
- decommissioning the Martin Drake Power Plant no later than 2035. This decommissioning process started with the retirement of Unit 5, the plant's smallest and oldest unit, at the end of 2016.