LC Drives seeks substation funding

LC Drives machine shop at its Potsdam facilities. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

POTSDAM — Devon C. Sutton, LC Drives director of strategic operations, was seeking an agreement with the Town Board on Tuesday night to make a grant application for the construction of an electric substation on Route 56.

In April, the board voted to issue a special use permit for the company’s site plan and request to construct a 30,000-square-foot light manufacturing facility at 6968 Route 56.

LC Drives develops permanent magnet technologies for electric motors and generators, and directs its work to support renewable energy in marine propulsion, wind turbine generators and industrial motors for manufacturing facilities.

The town decision comes after the St. Lawrence County Planning Board granted conditional approval for the project in March.

A substation would be necessary to operate the facility, Ms. Sutton said.

Ms. Sutton urged the town Tuesday to work with LC Drives to apply for money from the State and Municipalities Facilities Program, which typically funds infrastructure projects, economic development projects and big purchases such as fire trucks.

LC Drives suggests studying a 15 megawatt substation, which would be big enough for its purposes and also allow for the location of other industrial developments in the area.

A substation of that size would cost several million dollars, Ms. Sutton said.

A substation, Ms. Sutton said, would be a good fit with what LC Drives is trying to do and with what the town is trying to do to develop the Route 56 corridor.

The town recently approved a water and sewer district there.

“It (the substation planning) is in its nascent stages,” Ms. Sutton said. “This is a great idea in which now we need to do a lot of homework and work closely with the town of course; it would be a town submission.”

The project would also require buy-in from state representatives in the Assembly and Senate in order to ensure that the project is the right size for the funds available.

Ms. Sutton said that LC Drives could build its own substation and this plan, if it did not come to fruition, would not halt their plans to build their facility.

“This makes it easier for us to locate here. It makes it easier for many other companies to locate here,” she said. “We believe strongly here at LC Drives in partnering with the area where you are growing.”

The board voted unanimously to go along with looking into a grant application.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

St. Lawrence/Franklin County Editor

Slowly self-propelled. Two-time cancer survivor. Nearly 30-year newspaper veteran.

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