Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) is coordinating a strategic assessment of energy use in the Capital Region corridor from eastern Albany north through Saratoga County to Warren and Washington counties.
Increased demand for electricity and natural gas have contributed to the price fluctuations affecting diverse employers’ competitiveness and consumer rates, including small and larger businesses as well as institutional users, SEDC officials said.
“We are focused on keeping our region competitive so we retain businesses and attract investment to drive future job growth,” said Dennis Brobston, SEDC president. “In large part due to the region’s recent economic development successes, increased demand for electricity and natural gas has resulted in our area, especially the zone north through Saratoga County. Large and small businesses have flagged energy cost as a concern.
“Our corridor includes long-standing employers and communities cut off from affordable, cleaner natural gas. Other regions may have community-based distributed generation, cogeneration or other alternative on-site energy sources in mind to help manage supply or cost. We are undertaking this assessment of energy users to better understand current and future needs that will help stakeholders prepare ways to remain competitive for future growth.”
The survey was created in consultation with National Grid. SEDC is soliciting input from businesses, hospitals, school districts and local governments related to use of electric and heat resources. The information will be collected confidentially, blinded and evaluated in aggregate to better understand current energy user’s sources, pricing and expected future demand, Brobston said. Energy rates are a competitive vulnerability compared to other areas of the country.
According to Brobston, over the past couple of years, National Grid has made significant investments in its electric and natural gas infrastructure in the region including more than $220 million in substation improvements, reconductored electric lines, new electric transmission and gas pipes and a new substation. These infrastructure investments are in addition to more than $19 million in economic development grants benefitting the Capital and Northeast Regions of Upstate NY since the program’s inception.
“In order to continue infrastructure investment National Grid needs to know the type of growth local businesses are planning,” said Eastern New York Executive Director Laurie Poltynski. “This information that will be collected by SEDC is critical to our overall investment plan over the next several years.”
“Energy costs are a big segment of our operating budget,” said Dan Frankowski, manager of Quad/Graphic’s Saratoga Springs manufacturing plant. “It is important to understand significant growth could affect our availability and pricing in the future. We support SEDC as they engage the local communities to find out possible impacts due to changes in the region’s load.”
Mike Russo, GlobalFoundries director of U.S. government relations, regulatory affairs and strategic initiatives, said his company “supports SEDC as it undertakes its assessment of current and future energy supply and demand needs in Saratoga County. The region’s continued growth in innovative technology and advanced manufacturing requires partnerships and collaboration with all stakeholders to insure the economic growth and vitality of the region.”
He said the study complements GlobalFoundries Power Demonstration Model initiative designed to bring together utilities, energy and regulatory agencies, local government and major regional energy users explore the most innovative technologies and create a comprehensive “grid of the future” in the northern Tech Valley region to increase the efficiency and reliability of its energy systems.
To participate in the assessment, contact SEDC at email@example.com.