Preliminary work, including tree cutting and brush clearing, will begin today for a new high-voltage power transmission line running through western Saratoga County and northwestern Schenectady County.
National Grid, which will build the new 115-kilovolt line, said the line between Rotterdam and Spier Falls will supply the region with additional power needed to meet the electricity demand from the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant and from other growth in Saratoga County.
“It’s to give our customers additional support,” said Virginia Limmiatis, a National Grid spokeswoman.
The work will continue over an 18-month period, with the line’s completion expected in the spring of 2013.
The clearing of trees and brush will be followed by construction of new towers starting in January, Limmiatis said. Next will come the stringing of power lines. The timeline is about six months behind the schedule National Grid originally hoped to meet when the project was proposed in early 2010.
The 33-mile-long line will run side-by-side with an existing high-voltage power line that runs between the Spier Falls hydroelectric dam in Moreau and a large electric substation in Rotterdam. It will pass through Rotterdam, Glenville, Charlton, Ballston, Milton, Greenfield, Corinth and Moreau. A separate 4-mile line will run from western Ballston to the Ballston Spa substation.
The line, which is expected to cost around $66 million, has been under discussion since 2007. It was approved by the state Public Service Commission last February. Construction and environmental remediation specifi cs were approved by the PSC in September, clearing the way for work to start.
Ella Laird of Charlton, one of about a halfdozen residents of Saratoga County who actively opposed the line during an 18-month PSC review, said Monday that she and her husband are now resigned to seeing it go forward.
The existing 115-kv line passes through their front yard and nearby pastures, and the new line will be closer to their houses. The Lairds received compensation from National Grid for widening its right-of-way by an additional 20 feet.
“It’s done. It’s going to happen, and we’ve just kind of resigned ourselves,” Laird said.
Some of the opponents had wanted to see the line buried underground, but National Grid officials said the overhead route next to the existing power line had the least environmental impact of any of the alternatives they studied.
In approving the line in February, the PSC said not building the new line could cause thermal overloads that would damage the existing lines and lead to power blackouts.
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