Nat'l Grid set to build new substation

By HEATHER NELLIS

Recorder News Staff

TOWN OF FLORIDA -- National Grid will purchase about four acres of land from Target to erect a permanent substation near the Florida Business Park at Route 5S.

National Grid Spokesman Patrick Stella said it will replace the existing temporary substation in the town that was erected after historic flooding events in 2011 caused significant damage to the substation near Lock 10.

Stella said the temporary unit will be able to provide services for the next several years, which is how long it will take to erect the permanent one.

The land the utility will purchase is located directly next to the temporary unit, which Stella said will be beneficial when services are switched over from one to the other.

"Everything will transfer smoothly," Stella said.

The utility decided to move its substation after a 70-foot electrical tower near Lock 10 collapsed into the Mohawk River in the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 10, 2011.

The tower's fall was attributed to severe erosion from flood erosion caused by Tropical Storms Irene and Lee a week earlier.

"That substation was so close to the shore and the river, and now the river has changed paths a bit, so its susceptible to that again," Stella said, commenting why the utility decided to move it.

At the time, Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton said the dams were unable to contain the raging torrent to a single waterway, and a "new" river flowed adjacent to the Mohawk on the Route 5S side.

It washed away 200 feet of land at the National Grid substation, taking with it the aforementioned large electrical tower, and some wooden polls.

Considered a "critical interconnection system," because the site runs to substations from Rotterdam to Ingham, the damage knocked out power for about 20,000 customers in the Amsterdam area through the town of Broadalbin.

Because Target has a Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement with the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency for its distribution center on Route 5S, the company had to seek approval from the IDA to sell the land, said IDA CEO Ken Rose.

The IDA approved the sale at its Dec. 13 meeting.

"It will provide more reliable electrical service to the area, as well as supply the capacity needed for future growth at the park extension," Rose said.