Power plans push forward

National Grid's new line spanning Saratoga and Schenectady counties approved

When air conditioners are buzzing during blistering hot summer days, the last thing anyone wants is a power outage, and state officials are hoping a new transmission line into Rotterdam will prevent that from happening.

The New York State Public Service Commission granted National Grid a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need on Thursday, Feb. 17, for the company's proposed new 115-kilovolt electric transmission line from Spier Falls in Saratoga County to Rotterdam in Schenectady County. The new line will stretch 33 miles along National Grid's existing rights-of-way, but 20- to 25-foot-wide land easements will need to be acquired for vegetation management, which has been a point of concern for some residents who have wondered how the deal would affect their land.

Our findings indicated that there is a need [for the new transmission line] having to do with outages and reliability for the system, said Anne Dalton, spokeswoman for the New York State Public Service Commission. "We modified our certificate that National Grid will be required to do some post-construction landscaping along the rights-of-way and the company will have to comply with all local noise ordinances."

The new line will be built in two segments " from the Spier Falls Substation to the Ballston Tap is 22 miles, and the remaining 11 miles goes from the Rotterdam Substation to the Ballston Tap. Also, there is the reconstruction of a 4-mile spur line form the Ballston Tap to the Ballston Spa substation. The new lines will not be as wide as the existing line structures and will rise 4 feet higher.

The project is estimated to cost $66 million, which is part of $1.5 billion that has been spent over the past five years on projects in upstate New York, said Patrick Stella, spokesman for National Grid.

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