Martin Drake coal plant of Colorado Springs Utilities now fully back on line

Colorado Springs Utilities said on March 16 that ten months after the May 2014 fire at the coal-fired Martin Drake Power Plant, Unit 5 has been restarted.

Unit 5 (at 46 MW) is the smallest, and last, of the three units damaged in the fire to be restored. Unit 6 (77 MW) returned to service just nine weeks following the fire and Unit 7 (131 MW) was operational in 16 weeks, bringing the plant back to 80% of its capacity.

An increase to the Electric Cost Adjustment rate was approved following the fire to cover additional fuel costs while Drake was completely out of service. However, as promised, decreases to the ECA were approved after each unit was brought back online. It is no different with this unit. The municipal utility said it will ask City Council to approve an ECA decrease in April with an effective date of May 1.

CSU said that based on the information collected during the origin and cause investigation, the fire was determined to be accidental and caused by human error. The employee involved is currently on administrative leave pending further notice, it added. 

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.