Martin Drake Power Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Martin Drake Power Plant is a 207.3-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: Colorado Springs Utilities
  • Parent Entity: City of Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 257.3 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 5: 50.0 MW (1962), Unit 6: 75.0 MW (1968), Unit 7: 132.3 MW (1974)
  • Location: 700 Conejos St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903
  • GPS Coordinates: 38.824155, -104.831411
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Sub Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: North Antelope Rochelle Mine (Peabody)[1]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Unit 5 retired in 2016.[2]

Unit Retirements

The plant is made up of the coal-burning units 5-7. Unit 5 was taken off-line in March 2017.[3] Units 6-7 will be closed by 2035,[4] and possibly by 2025 due to pollution concerns.[5]

In its 2020 Integrated Resource Plan, Colorado Springs Utilities said it was working on retiring all coal power generation before the end of 2030. The Martin Drake Power Plant is planned to retire before the end of 2023 and the Ray Nixon Power Plant before the end of 2030.[6]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 2,256,177 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Martin Drake Power Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[7] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[8]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Martin Drake Power Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 8 $61,000,000
Heart attacks 13 $1,400,000
Asthma attacks 160 $8,000
Hospital admissions 6 $140,000
Chronic bronchitis 6 $2,500,000
Asthma ER visits 8 $3,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

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