The state Public Service Commission on Thursday approved National Grid’s proposal to rebuild a 14-mile stretch of high-voltage electrical transmission line in northern Saratoga and western Washington counties.
The $31 million project will upgrade two 115-kv transmission lines that run between Moreau and Greenwich, increasing their capacity.
The PSC acted on the application at its monthly meeting in Albany.
The project is needed to protect the reliability of the local power grid and address projected long-term demand created by thousands of new customers in the Saratoga region, including computer chip maker GlobalFoundries, PSC officials said.
“Rebuilding of the transmission lines is needed to relieve current and projected load constraints in the northeast region,” said commission Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman. “This project will serve the needs of the electric system and will improve the reliability of the transmission system in the region.”
National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said a construction management plan now must be approved by the PSC, so construction isn’t expected to start until late 2014. National Grid expects to file the plan next month, he said.
Both this project and the ongoing construction of a new 115-kv line between Spier Falls and Rotterdam are part of a coordinated effort to increase power flow into Saratoga County, Stella said.
“Even before GlobalFoundries, this was one of the our largest growth areas,” he said.
Stella said the utility is aware of the potential for a second GlobalFoundries plant at the Luther Forest Technology Campus. Such factories use as much electric power as a small city.
“Part of the thing we’re factoring in is that we expect there will be further development at the Luther Forest campus,” he said.
National Grid applied for approval in February 2011. The departments of Environmental Conservation and Agriculture and Markets signed off on the project during the PSC review process.