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ITC Midwest Connects 716 Megawatts of Wind Generation in 2009

Iowa wind turbines
Wind power potential in the Midwest is growing faster than power transmission lines can be built to handle the load.
(cc) Carl Wycoff

Helping harness wind energy development in the Midwest, ITC Midwest LLC connected 716 megawatts of installed wind energy generation to the company’s electric transmission system in 2009. The amount of energy produced by this generation is approximately the same as the electric energy consumed by 200,000 homes. Combined with the 810 MW of new wind generation connected to the ITC Midwest system during 2008, the company has connected more than 1,500 MW of wind energy in the two years since it established operations in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Missouri.

ITC Midwest acquired nearly 6,800 miles of electric transmission lines in December 2007 from Alliant Energy’s Interstate Power and Light Co. subsidiary.

The 716 megawatts of new wind generation connected in 2009 represents the nameplate output of five new Iowa wind farms. ITC is also working with wind energy developers on their plans to connect hundreds of additional megawatts of wind energy to the grid in 2010.

“Iowa has seen significant growth in its renewable energy resources in the past few years,” said Doug Collins, executive director of ITC Midwest. “In 2005, for instance, Iowa had approximately 830 megawatts of installed wind energy in the entire state. ITC Midwest interconnected almost that much wind generation in each of the past two years. We are pleased to help bring these renewable resources on-line and make the benefits of wind energy available to utility customers in the Midwest,” Collins said.

Although ITC Midwest has more than 2,200 MW of wind generation capacity connected to its system in Iowa and Minnesota – representing more than one third of the combined installed wind energy in the two states – transmission constraints limit the output of wind generation to the system, Collins said.

“Although we are continuing to connect wind energy developments to the grid, the lack of a major regional high-voltage electric transmission backbone prevents that wind energy from moving great distances to the customers who need it,” he said. “ITC is continuing to work with federal and state officials, the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator and other utility partners to study and develop the system needed to move that renewable energy to the load demand centers to the east.”

ITC Midwest LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s only fully independent electric transmission company. Headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ITC Midwest acquired the electric transmission assets of Alliant Energy’s Interstate Power & Light Co. subsidiary in December 2007. The company owns and operates transmission lines in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and Missouri, and maintains operating locations at Dubuque, Iowa City, and Perry, Iowa; and Albert Lea and Lakefield, Minnesota.

ITC Holdings Corp. 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.

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