ACTION ALERT: Your Input About Drake Decommissioning Is Needed Now!

The Colorado Springs Utilities Council is this summer making critical decisions that will affect the future of our energy portfolio. Unfortunately, based on statements and actions by this Council in the recent past, the fear is that they will resort to the same dirty energy status-quo solutions that they find to be easiest and cheapest. However, we all know that continuing use of coal to generate electricity is NOT the cheapest when we factor in the serious health impacts and environmental damage that burning coal causes to the over 500,000 people in our community from the dangerous toxins that spew from the Martin Drake coal-fired power plant, and the amount of carbon pollution that enters the atmosphere causing global warming.

Your voice needs to be heard that dirty, polluting, and dangerous status-quo is no longer acceptable for our community – especially now that cleaner alternative energy solutions are cost-competitive with and even cheaper than coal. Proper planning will take advantage of the cost savings from solar and wind that have no ongoing fuel costs and almost no pollution to worry about.

What makes this issue even more critical is that the fire at the Martin Drake Coal Plant this past April made it all too clear that this old, polluting coal-powered industrial facility has no place in the middle of our community. The Fire Chief even said if it were not for the brave firefighters responsiveness, there could have been an explosion.

So please get involved in two ways to tell the Council – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! It’s time to retire Drake and move onto cleaner, safer energy solutions for our community. Even the Drake study report published in December of 2013 that the Council commissioned at the cost of $500,000 stated that operating Drake for the longer term was not feasible, practical or viable. Why isn’t the Council listening to the public and the energy experts?

The Council has stated that public input will be considered in the upcoming decisions about Drake’s retirement, so here’s how you can make your voice heard:

  1. Go online to the Drake Task Force website, and submit a public comment. Be respectful but firm in making it very clear that operating this old, polluting and dangerous plant any longer in the middle of our community is not only bad for our residents, it hurts our community’s economic prospects in attracting new businesses and young professionals.  You can find talking points here.
  2. Attend the “The Future of Martin Drake Power Plant – Panel Discussion | June 19, 2014” and support Drake Decommissioning with your questions to the panel.  NOTE: registration is required.
  3. Plan 3 minutes of statement that you will say in front of the Council in a special session designated just for public comment. The meeting will be held on June 26th, from 6-8pm at the City Council Chambers at 107 N. Nevada Avenue.
  4. Attend either of the two upcoming Utilities Council meetings on either June 18th or July 16th, from 1-5pm and make a public comment. Details and agendas for these meetings can be found at this website:

Thank you for your participation at this very important time where the near and long term planning for Colorado Springs energy decisions are being made!


Climate March Rally in Colorado Springs June 10th

 “It is time for every person on the great Planet Earth to stand up and demand action on climate change before it is too late.  The Great March for Climate Action is an example of concerned citizens doing just that, and on behalf of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society I would like to offer our support and encouragement for this ambitious effort. The Great March brings a sense of urgency to the ongoing effort to save our planet from catastrophic climate change, and will inspire action as it rolls onward towards our nations capital.”   Alex Blackmer President, Colorado Renewable Energy Society Colorado Springs(Pueblo):Tuesday, June 10th, 5:00pm – 7:00pm Procession: @ 5:00pm, Join the Marchers in America the Beautiful Park for a procession through downtown! Rally: @ 5:45pm, Join the Marchers in Acacia Park to hear from the Marchers and learn from local leaders making Colorado Springs a more sustainable place!Carpool from Pueblo

 Cost: FREE



5:00     March from America the Beautiful Park to Acacia Park

5:43     Marcher Antiphonybrief performance immediately before start of rally  1 min

5:45     Steve Saint (MC)WELCOME the public and Marchers to Colo Spgs                3 min

5:48     Faith Meckley, Marcher – Receive Welcome, and share her story                        3 min

 5:52     Scott Harvey, Green Cities Coalition – climate science                                       3 min

 5:56     Mary Barber, Fort Carson – military, climate change, and sustainability           5 min

 6:02     Kat Haber, Marcher                                                                                              3 min

 6:06     MUSIC –                                                                                                                3 min

 6:10     Nori Rost, All Souls Unitarian Church – religion and climate change                 3 min

 6:14     Nazli McDonnell, MD PhD – health effects of coal plants                                   3 min

 6:18     Jane Ard-Smith, Sierra Club of Pikes Peak Group – coal plants                         3 min

 6:22     Bonnie Ann Smith, Colorado Renewable Energy Society – CRES                      3 min

6:26     MUSIC –                                                                                                               10 min

 6:35     John Abbe, Marcher – Interactive/Discussion Activity to cap off the rally        20 min

 6:57     MUSIC –                                                                                                               3 min


 More Information: Contact Chris Ververis( (530) 3-CHANGE


 MARCHER IN THE HOME /Homestay program

The 35 to 50 marcher volunteers walking across country with the Great March for Climate Action will take two nights and one rest day. This is where local people will take one or more marchers home with them, give them a place to sleep, feed them supper and breakfast and pack a lunch for them. Its a really good opportunity for people to get to know marchers better and why they are marching.

Colorado Springs June 10 & 11 Contact Heidi Cooper (719)433-6889

Spread the Word

Tell people you know.  Download and hang flyers for Colorado Springs.


Apply to March (858)35-MARCH


Follow the March on the Web

Colorado Events Page

Colorado Springs Events Page












Drake Fire – a Reminder to be Energy Efficient

Drake Fire

With the unfortunate fire at the Colorado Springs Martin Drake Power Plant, Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) is faced with an abrupt loss of base load electric power.  This could easily last into the summer air conditioning season with its peak load.  Now is a GREAT time for all CSU customers to take steps towards using less electricity.  Indeed, it is a good time for all of us to do so.

Here are just a few of the things you can do to help.

A great place to start is by going to CSU’s website and taking a look at its Average Comparison Tool.  This will show how your electrical usage compares to other customers.

If you have not yet swapped out your incandescent light bulbs for compact florescent lights (CFLs), what are you waiting for?  CSU customers can even get instant rebates at local stores –  If you have been holding off because you don’t like the light quality or slow start of CFLs, you should check out the growing options for LED bulbs.  Although they still cost more than the old bulbs, the price is coming down quickly,  they last longer and use 10% of the energy of incandescents to produce what many think is a superior light.

If you need help figuring out what to do first, get your hands on a kill-a-watt meter.  These are available at local stores and on Amazon to purchase.  They can also be borrowed for free from Pikes Peak Libraries ( and as part of a home energy kit from county extension offices (

Plug your appliances into a kill-a-watt meter and it will show the watts used and record the kilowatt-hours used over time.  A real eye-opener is to plug in your entertainment system components when they are “off”.  It is not uncommon to find them drawing 20 W or more in the off state.  A simple power strip will enable you to turn them off completely and save this “phantom load”.

Often your refrigerator is the biggest electricity load in the house.  Since it runs intermittently, you need to plug it into the kill-a-watt meter and run it for a day.  Particularly if the frig is old or not Energy Star certified, you will likely be able to save a lot of energy with an upgrade.  Perhaps you did upgrade, but put the old one in the garage for the occasional party.  You might find that it is costing you more than you realized.

For MANY MORE tips on reducing your electricity use, see Colorado Springs Utilities’ website for tips for residential customers and here for energy efficiency rebates for business customers.

Colorado State University Extension also offers a lot of GREAT INFORMATION on energy use and efficiency


Discovering the Future of Energy

Switch Poster


“Switch” Documentary Event

Discovering the Future of Energy

CSU-Pueblo Library, April 17th at 3:30 PM

Free and Open to the Public

The public is invited to attend “SWITCH”, hosted by The Colorado Renewable Energy Society and the ASME student section at CSU-Pueblo.  The feature of the event is the regional premier of an outstanding, nationally-acclaimed new energy documentary film entitled “SWITCH”.


This film thoughtfully addresses the question of “What will it really take to go from the energy sources that built our world to the energy sources that will shape our future?”  The film will be preceded by a brief informal networking period with light refreshments at 3:30 PM, and followed by a short, open discussion and opportunity to meet local energy-minded organizations after the film.  This film will begin promptly at 3:45 PM.


April 17th:  CSU-Pueblo Library Room LARC 109

2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo, CO 81001  





More Information: Contact SECRES (


Energy resources are undergoing profound changes.  Globally, regionally and locally we are gradually shifting from traditional energy sources to the energy sources of tomorrow.  This sweeping transition of our energy future is the subject of SWITCH.  The film takes the viewer on a spectacular global adventure, exploring the world’s leading sites for all energy types, including coal, oil, wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, natural gas, biofuels, and nuclear, and explores a practical path to how our energy future path may unfold.


SWITCH Documentary Q&A

Who sponsored airing of the Switch documentary in Colorado Springs?

Where can I find more information on Switch?

I was disturbed by the lack of detailed information on the negative environmental impacts in the film. In light of this, why did you show the film?

Is there a group I can meet with to find out ways to organize for more clean energy in El Paso County and make my voice heard?

What organizations in the Pikes Peak Region are involved in Clean Energy?

Why do I see some much about Colorado Springs Utilities and the Martin Drake Plant in the media?

How can I let Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) know that I’d like to see more clean energy?

What is the latest scientific analysis on climate change?

Where can I learn more about clean energy and energy efficiency?


Who sponsored airing of the Switch documentary in Colorado Springs?

The SouthEastern Colorado Renewable Energy Society (SECRES) and EnAct sponsored Switch in Colorado Springs.

EnAct, the oldest student group at Colorado College, began after Earth Day 1970. EnAct serves as a forum to raise environmental and social awareness through research, education, and action at CC and within the Colorado Springs community.  Contacts: Laurel Sebastian & Leo Stout

SECRES is the southeastern chapter of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society whose members come from the Arkansas River drainage – Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and the southeastern section of the state.  SECRES was founded in June 2003 to promote, educate and advocate for efficiency, and renewable energy. Website: Contact: Info at SECRES


Where can I find more information on Switch?

The Switch website has more information:  It is important to note the sources of funding here


I was disturbed by the lack of detailed information on the negative environmental impacts in the film. In light of this, why did you show the film?

We are also disturbed by the environment impacts of oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power. However, we feel Switch accurately represents the global energy path we are currently on. We very much want your help altering this path. Please join us on April 28th. See the following question.


Is there a group I can meet with to find out ways to organize for more clean energy in El Paso County and make my voice heard?

The Southeastern Colorado Renewable Energy Society (SECRES) is a local group who advocates for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Just send an email to to be added to our announcements of local events.

Please join a coalition of groups to develop the vision for the clean energy transition in El Paso County.

Monday, April 28th at 7 PM.

4755 Forge Road, Suite 170 (Door is marked for prior tenant, AKM Semiconductor),Colorado Springs, CO 80907, Tel. 719-510-3765

Go ½ mile west from I25 on Garden of the Gods. Turn right (north) on Forge. 4755 is located at the SE corner of Forge Road and Elkton Drive. Suite 170 is located on the East side of the building, at the SE corner.



What organizations in the Pikes Peak Region are involved in Clean Energy?

The two sponsors are involved.  See above.

The Sierra Club is a nonprofit member supported, public interest organization that promotes conservation of the natural environment by influencing public policy decisions – legislative, administrative, legal, and electoral. The Club’s national priority is to move beyond fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) to a clean energy future. Locally, the Pikes Peak Group of the Sierra Club works with a coalition of partners to encourage local utilities to invest in renewable energy and plan for a clean energy future. To learn more about the Club’s national campaigns, visit To learn more about The Pikes Peak Group’s local efforts, contact Jane Ard-Smith, 719-351-2584,<Jane>

Green Cities Coalition The purpose of the Green Cities Coalition is to promote ecologically, economically and socially healthy cities in El Paso County, for the benefit of present and future residents of the Pikes Peak region. We envision healthy, equitable and sustainable communities, both human and natural. Website:

Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future   Website:



Why do I see so much about Colorado Springs Utilities and the Martin Drake Plant in the media?

Colorado Springs City Council, which serves as the Utilities Board, commissioned a study on the decommissioning of the Martin Drake coal-fired power plant.  The public was invited to comment on the study process and report.  You can find information on the website  City Council is now considering the report and intends to state a policy direction later this year. 

The Utilities Policy Advisory Committee is a seven member committee of citizens appointed by the Utilities Board who develop policy recommendations.  They are currently working on a revision of the Utilities Energy Vision for 2020 which contains, among other things, a target for renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Here are some key documents which contain a wealth of information on the Utility and Martin Drake:

Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP) is the Utilities’ long range planning document for electric power generation.  It contains detailed background information as well as evaluation of alternatives.

Study of Alternatives Related to the Potential Decommissioning of the Martin Drake Power Plant is the independent consultants evaluation of alternatives for decommissioning the Drake power plant.

The public comment page of the Drake Study site contains a number of informed comments.


How can I let Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) know that I’d like to see more clean energy?

There are a number of people from various organizations interested in developing the vision for more clean energy.  Part of that vision involves recognition that the Drake plant has a limited life and looking at the implications of this in light of all the transition happening with energy generation in the USA today.  We invite you to help shape this vision starting at a meeting.  See above.

As a municipally owned utility, Colorado Spring’s City Council serves as CSU’s board of directors.  Their meetings are open to the public and brief, three-minute comments are heard at each meeting.  These can include a few presentation slides sent in advance to Dave Grossman  See for meeting times, agendas and minutes.  You can also contact City Council separately.

CSU has formed the Utilities Policy Advisory Committee (UPAC) which develops policies for the Utility.  Their meetings are open to the public and brief, five-minute comments are heard at each meeting.  See for meeting times, agendas and minutes.


What is the latest scientific analysis on climate change?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”.  Their latest findings are “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis” available in a summarized format in Summary for Policy Makers which can be read quickly for the 19 key points.  The full report is also available here.  The IPCC just released “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability  – Summary for Policy Makers“ and it is available here.

James Hanson is an outspoken climate scientist, currently at Columbia University.  Dr. Hanson was one of the scientists to alert policy makers early to the impact of our green house gas emissions.  His recent book “Storms of My Grandchildren” is a very readable account of his concerns and attempts to communicate them to policy makers.  A recent white paper summarizes his current thinking – “Renewable Energy, Nuclear Power and Galileo: Do Scientists Have a Duty to Expose Popular Misconceptions?”.  In it he recognizes the Climate Change Lobby and their efforts for a revenue neutral carbon tax.

Of course no US personality is more associated with educating Americans on the impacts of climate change than Al Gore who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with the IPCC.  The Climate Reality Project is focused on educating the public on the risks Mr. Gore so forcefully describes.

A recent development is the website  This is a portal into the data which NASA, NOAA and other US scientific organizations have on the impact of climate change to US citizens.  Initially, the information available is on the impact of sea level rise, but other impacts will follow.


Where can I learn more about clean energy and energy efficiency?

There are many sources on the web.  Here in our state, Colorado State University provides a wealth of information.  See their energy page.  If you are looking for general educational material with a Colorado focus, check out their Colorado Energy Masters program.  If you are interested from a consumer or home owner standpoint, their site provides links to informational material including a DIY home energy audit

The SE chapter of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society is another great source.  After last year’s Black Forest Fire, they provided free seminars to victims who lost their home and faced rebuilding.  These seminars covered all aspects of energy for the homeowner.  You can find links to the seminar presentations and many other links here.  You can also simply send questions in email to