Colorado Springs’ downtown power plant burned its last lumps of coal Friday, as crews prepare to tear down the long-standing towers that have filled the skyline with steam.
Shuttering Martin Drake Power Plant, one of the last urban power plants in the country, will help cut the community’s carbon emissions and potentially open up opportunities for the highly visible land, southwest of Cimarron and Conejos streets and next to Interstate 25, city and Colorado Springs Utilities officials said at a celebration Friday.
Coal has burned on the site for about a century, and the plant was expected to keep running on coal through 2035. In June 2020, however, the Utilities board, which is made up of Colorado Springs City Council members, moved up the date for shuttering the plant to no later than 2023.
Economics accelerated Drake’s closure because natural gas and other fuels are cheaper, Mayor John Suthers said.
“Clean energy is America’s future and it’s Colorado Springs’ future.”