On Tuesday afternoon, Colorado Springs City Council members approved a team to take the first steps in determining the fate of the Drake Power Plant.
City councils members approved the team on a vote of 7 to 2. Council members Angela Dougan and Tim Leigh voted against it.
Dougan said too many members could be bias. She cited some of their connections to Colorado Springs Utilites. She also said the task force was comprised of citizens in only a small part of the city and didn't include many districts.
Leigh said the decision to move forward with the task force was too fast especially ahead of the April election.
The nine member volunteer citizen task force begins their work immediately.
Their main focus is to make recommendations for a contractor to study the aging plant.
This is the beginning of a long process to decide whether or not to tear it down or renovate the plant with new technology.
The coal-fired power plant was built in the 1960s. It is in good shape, but would need major upgrades in order to meet Environment Protection Agency standards.
According to Colorado Springs Utilities spokesman, Dave Grossman, the deadline would be 2017.
Grossman estimated it would cost $350 million to upgrade the Drake Power Plant and the Ray Nixon Power Plant.
But according to Grossman, using a new emissions-scrubbing technology developed by the Springs-based Neumann Systems Group could save about $100 million.
However, Grossman said some think the investment is not worth it if the Drake power plant will have to be retired in about a decade anyway.
A study is underway to look at what would be best in terms of technology, economic development and what the public thinks.
Third-party firms are conducting the study and results are expected by the end of the year.