PR Newswire, NOVI, Mich., May 13, 2015 – ITCTransmission, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company, today announced its Thumb Loop high-voltage transmission project is complete with the energization of the third and final phase of the project. ITC invested an estimated $510 million to build the 345,000 volt (345 kV) line, which serves as the backbone of a system designed to meet the identified maximum wind energy potential of Michigan’s Thumb region. It also will contribute to regional system reliability and facilitate wholesale market competition.
“Conceiving and completing the Thumb Loop project demonstrates the value of forward-thinking, collaborative planning between the state and key stakeholders,” said Joseph L. Welch, chairman, president and CEO of ITC Holdings Corp. “It’s a prime example of the effectiveness of ITC’s planning process, which identified the transmission needed to facilitate Michigan’s renewable energy goals while also strengthening the regional transmission grid. This project brings an increase in transmission system capacity and reliability while providing more efficient transmission of renewable energy. It also created jobs and will have a meaningful near and long-term impact on the economy of the region and the entire state.”
Governor Rick Snyder cited the Thumb Loop’s benefits to the people of Michigan. “The Thumb Loop has been a good investment for Michigan. It has allowed us to expand our agricultural processing abilities and allowed us to add low-cost renewable energy to our grid and saved Michigan ratepayers real money. It is a good example of why we need to evaluate transmission in our overall planning to ensure an adaptable, affordable, reliable, and environmentally protective energy future.”
“The entire ITC team worked tirelessly to bring the Thumb Loop into service ahead of the original end-of-2015 target,” said Linda Blair, ITC executive vice president, chief business unit officer and president, ITC Michigan. “This effort reflects ITC’s ongoing commitment to operational excellence and focused project management, working in close cooperation with landowners, communities and alliance partners and suppliers, many of whom are based in Michigan.”
During the construction phase of the Thumb Loop, ITC estimates the project had a direct impact of $366 million to the Michigan economy, including employment of local contractors, vendors and suppliers. The Thumb-area economy benefited from the demand for supplies and services such as concrete, hardware, fuel, gravel and trucking, as well as food, lodging and other personal needs for construction crews.
Studies by the Midcontinent ISO, the regional authority that oversees transmission for a 15-state area that includes Michigan, show that Multi-Value Projects such as the Thumb Loop are anticipated to produce benefits for customers in Michigan and the broader region of between two-and-a-half and four times the project cost.
About the Thumb Loop Project
The Thumb Loop project consists of approximately 140 miles of double-circuit 345,000 volt (345 kV) transmission lines and four new substations. It serves as the “backbone” of a system designed to meet the identified maximum wind energy potential of the Thumb region and is capable of supporting a maximum capacity of about 5,000 MW. As an important link in the high-voltage transmission system in Michigan and the region, it contributes to reducing congestion, improving system reliability and facilitating wholesale market competition. Additional lines and facilities will be needed in the future as wind generators go into service and connect to the backbone system.
Construction began in 2011, and the project was put into service in three phases. Phase 1, consisting of 62 miles of lines and two substations in Tuscola and Huron counties, went into service in September 2013. Phase 2 includes 20 miles of lines in St. Clair and Sanilac counties, the Fitz Substation in St. Clair County and upgrades at the Greenwood substation; it was energized in May 2014. Phase 3, comprising 56 miles of line in Huron and Sanilac counties and the Banner substation near Sandusky, went into service in May 2015. For more information about the Thumb Loop project, please visit www.itctransco.com.
Thumb Loop by the Numbers
- Value: Estimated $510 million
- Miles of wire: 1,680 miles, enough to stretch from the Thumb to Salt Lake City, Utah
- Number of steel monopoles: 789
- Number of steel lattice towers: 32
- Distance between poles: 250 – 1,200 feet
- Average number of poles per mile: 6
- Height of poles: 125 – 180 feet
- Amount of concrete for pole & tower foundations: 62,639 cubic yards (equivalent to 6,264 mixer truckloads)
International Transmission Company (d/b/a ITCTransmission) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company. Based in Novi, Michigan, ITCTransmission owns, operates and maintains approximately 3,000 circuit miles of transmission line in Southeast Michigan. For more information, please visit https://www.itctransco.com.
About ITC Holdings Corp.
ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ITC) is the nation’s largest independent electric transmission company. Based in Novi, Michigan, ITC invests in the electric transmission grid to improve reliability, expand access to markets, lower the overall cost of delivered energy and allow new generating resources to interconnect to its transmission systems. Through its regulated operating subsidiaries ITCTransmission, Michigan Electric Transmission Company, ITC Midwest and ITC Great Plains, ITC owns and operates high-voltage transmission facilities in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, serving a combined peak load exceeding 26,000 megawatts along approximately 15,600 circuit miles of transmission line. ITC’s grid development focus includes growth through regulated infrastructure investment as well as domestic and international expansion through merchant and other commercial development opportunities. For more information, please visit ITC’s website at www.itc-holdings.com (ITC-itc-F).