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Crowd packs town hall for decommissioning the Drake Power Plant in Colorado Springs

A big crowd packed a town hall meeting Tuesday night to voice their opinions on shuttering the Martin Drake Power Plant before the current 2035 retirement date.

The crowd had mixed reviews on whether or not to decommission the power plant before 2035, and dozens voiced their opinions before the Colorado Springs utilities board.

“We must act now to close Drake by 2025 and shift to the renewable energy resources that will provide jobs and a better future for the health and economic viability of everyone in this community,” Robin Eiser said.

“We just spent $180 million on the Newman systems at Drake. I just think as a community we need to make sure we get our money’s worth out of that investment,” Dan Malinaric, vice president of Microchip said.

Colorado Springs Utilities is looking at replacing the Martin Drake Power Plant before 2035 with three different types of options: replacing it at its current location, putting a plant at a different location altogether or constructing several smaller power plants throughout the city.

Some people at the meeting said they were willing to pay a higher bill for a cleaner future.

“It’s not all about rates,” Karin White said. “There’s costs to clean air and health. There’s costs to our environment. There’s costs to the aesthetics of our city.”

But others also expressed they aren’t so keen on the idea.

“This isn’t about anything, in my opinion, but development,” Anita said. “My electricity bill is more important than a baseball stadium.”

Colorado Springs Utilities general manager of energy acquisition engineering and planning, John Romero said they were there to understand what the community wants, all with the goal of finding a clear direction for Drake’s future.

“Knowing what the customers are thinking, how much they’re willing to pay to decommission the plant, or not willing to pay, and what would we like to do with the land that’s there,” Romero said.

The utility board will be voting when to close the power plant on Monday, Dec. 18.


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