Powering up at Luther Forest

Fast development, changing processes increase energy demand at tech park

— Brobston said the way to solve this is to expand the transmission corridor and expand the capabilities of those transmission corridors to include multiple 115,000-volt lines. But that means widening corridors, clearing out trees and expanding easements to accommodate 100-foot setbacks from the lines.

“The issue is it crosses people’s properties, so the easements get very expensive,” said Brobston.

It could take many years to accomplish the expansion, including time to engineer it, get the easements and build it.

“It is a public process the whole way, there are permits required to do this,” said Brobston. “This translates into five years just to approve it and two to three years to build it.”

The bottom line according to Brobston, is a cost of $100-150 million dollars to do an expansion that everyone has an interest in. The state wants to grow jobs and its tax base. The utilities want to sell power and transmit it. The customers want to pay for the power. But in order to get things moving, said Brobston, there will need to be incentives from the state, incentives from National Grid and from NYSEG.

“They will see long-term profit from this,” he said. “They will all need to see this as a priority for our region.”

Brobston said the goal for the next few months is to gather all the facts needed for the expansion, including the creation of 1,900 jobs at Global Foundries, which is an indication of economic growth, and get the information to the state.

“This expansion has to occur to keep job growth in our region,” said Brobston. “You don’t put in these multi-million dollar upgrades and just let it sit.”

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