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My understanding is that if a light is brighter, it will light a larger area. (Like a point light.) If I try this with a volume light, it seems to only light an area proportional with its scale, not its brightness.

Here is an example:

Emission set to 10:

enter image description here

Emission set to 100:

enter image description here

Emission set to 1000:

enter image description here

The .blend I used to test this is here.

Is there a way to light a larger area without changing the scale of the volume?

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The light does travel farther, its just that volume lights take longer to resolve. If you up your samples you should see the light extend further. You could also use a standard emission shader without volume which will render faster.

enter image description here

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