The Martin Drake coal-fired power plant in Colorado Springs will stop burning coal for good and for plant manager Somer Mese, it has been “like a death in the family,” she says. The plant will run on natural gas until it’s torn down completely in 2022 in favor of sourcing energy from renewables like wind, solar, and hydro. Mese and her colleagues at Colorado Spring Utilies, which provides electricity to nearly 240,000 homes and businesses, will train to operate them. The shift for power generation in the Pikes Peak region was driven by economics as much as public health and environmental concerns. The transition from coal won’t mean anyone loses access to energy reliability or that anyone will lose their job, and that outcome was desired by industry and environmentalists alike.

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