For the first time, Colorado Springs residents could give their two-cents about the future of the Drake Power Plant. The city is in the middle of a study to find alternatives to the coal-fired plant close to downtown. An open house welcomed people to understand the many different options for Drake.
Drake sits just off I-25, close to downtown. The plant powers about one-third of the electricity in Springs. But utilities board members are keeping their minds open for changes.
"Utilities needs to make plans 10, 15, 20, 25 years out in the future and they need to have the information, that data that's going to be generated from this study in order to do the best kind of planning for the electric power in the future,” said Drake Task Board Project Lead and city councilman Val Snider.
KRDO found two of the most knowledgeable men when it comes to energy. Jerry Unruh has a PH.D. in Chemistry and worked in the petro-chemical industry.
"I think climate change is one of the most serious issues we face and that's the whole issue - the amount of CO2 generated by coal-fired power plants,” said Unruh.
Unruh wants the plant to shut down. Dick Standaert is a retired executive in the oil and gas industry. He's on the other side.
"I'm very confident that Drake is state of the art and is best to meet the energy and environmental requirements in the next 20 years,” said Standaert.
But if the city does decide to shut down the plant, the earliest that can happen is in 2019. So long as the city feels it is the most cost-effective and sustainable option.
"Coal is probably not going to be the fuel of the future. So we want to see what would be, what would make the most sense of say solar, wind power, coal power, gas-generated power,” said Snider.
We should have the results of the study by the end of this year. Then, in early 2014 the public can review the results and comment on the recommendations.
City council will make a decision based on the public's input sometime next year.