The Martin Drake Power Plant provides nearly one-third of the community’s power year-round.
While the Martin Drake site has been in operation for more than 80 years, the three units currently in operation - units 5, 6 and 7 - were built in 1962, 1968 and 1974, respectively. The plant has been well maintained over the years to operate efficiently and reliably within regulatory requirements.
As base load power generation, the Drake units run 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The units have achieved continuous runs exceeding 100 days several times in recent years, which is an industry benchmark of excellence.
The Martin Drake Power Plant provides the lowest cost electricity of our entire generation portfolio.
Including costs for planned emissions control, power from Drake is expected to be less costly per megawatt hour than building a new plant or buying long-term replacement power from another utility.
All our power plants, including Drake, meet all Environmental Protection Agency air quality standards. Local air quality has measurably improved in the last 25 years even though the local population has increased.
The Martin Drake Power Plant was one of the first in Colorado to install soot-removing baghouses to remove particulate pollution. Baghouses collect more than 99.8 percent of fly ash, and this technology is one reason the plant qualifies as a low emitter under the state’s strict regulations for control of mercury. The white clouds visible from Drake are condensed water vapor from the cooling towers used in the steam-water cycle.
In 1999 and 2000, low nitrogen oxide (NOx) burners were installed on each unit at the Drake Power Plant allowing it to reduce its NOx emissions by 55 to 65 percent. Additional NOx controls will be installed by 2017 to achieve further reductions. In addition, Drake uses very low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, which results in lower sulfur emissions.
The latest step to further reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions is the installation of NeuStreamTM technology “scrubbers” developed by the Neumann Systems Group (NSG), a Colorado Springs-based business.