High Voltage Transmission Backbone Needed To Integrate Significant Renewable Energy

A recently released study by the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (Midwest ISO) demonstrates that a high-voltage electric transmission solution is necessary to address the growth of renewable energy resources in the Upper Midwest and the need to move these resources farther east to load centers, according to ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ITC). ITC proposed such a solution in February 2009 with The Green Power Express, an extra-high voltage electric transmission project.

The Midwest ISO released Phase I of its Regional Generation Outlet Study (RGOS) on Friday, December 11, as part of its ongoing transmission planning effort.

"The Midwest ISO study verifies that a robust electric transmission system is necessary to address the nation’s desire to grow its renewable energy sources," said Joseph L. Welch, chairman, president and CEO of ITC. "The RGOS study confirms that a technical solution, similar to what we have proposed with The Green Power Express, is needed, which is exactly what our own studies identified more than two years ago. A high-voltage transmission backbone such as The Green Power Express would provide the flexibility necessary to support a variety of energy policy scenarios. Regardless of any inputs or assumptions used, studies continue to show the value of a high-voltage electric transmission backbone."

John Bear, president and CEO of the Midwest ISO, said improved grid reliability and increased efficiencies are already providing the Midwest ISO region with significant cost savings, with more to come. "Over the next ten years, the region will receive between $5.5 and $7.1 billion in benefits on a net present value basis," he said. "Through the creation of a transparent wholesale energy market as renewable energy zones are linked to load centers, we can avoid costly congestion while allowing the integration of significant amounts of power from the wind-rich Upper Midwest."

The Midwest ISO RGOS process identified that an extra-high voltage overlay would help address the reliability needs in the region while supporting the interconnection of a significant amount of additional renewable resources. Welch said many of the overlay segments identified by the Midwest ISO closely match – electrically, and in some cases geographically – the segments that ITC proposed for The Green Power Express.

ITC unveiled The Green Power Express earlier this year as an electric transmission backbone capable of transmitting more than 12,000 megawatts of energy and spanning seven states in the Upper Midwest, where wind energy interconnections continue to increase.

Welch said ITC will continue to work with the Midwest ISO, state agencies, federal agencies and other stakeholders to adequately address the nation’s need for a robust transmission system as quickly as possible.

ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ITC) invests in the electricity transmission grid to improve electric reliability, improve access to markets, and lower the overall cost of delivered energy. ITC is the largest independent electricity transmission company in the country. Through its subsidiaries, ITCTransmission, Michigan Electric Transmission Company (METC) and ITC Midwest, ITC operates contiguous, regulated, high-voltage transmission systems in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and portions of Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri, serving a combined peak load in excess of 25,000 megawatts. ITC is also focused on new areas where significant transmission system improvements are needed through subsidiaries ITC Grid Development, ITC Great Plains and ITC Panhandle Transmission.