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2012-11-08 / Front Page

Electric loop work entering Huron County

BY JOHN BONKE
Staff Writer • 810-452-2668 • jbonke@mihomepaper.com

THE THUMB - The high-voltage electric transmission line work is now centering on Huron County, according to officials from ITC, the independent electricity transmission company overseeing the "Michigan Thumb Loop" project. As work in neighboring Tuscola County is nearing completion, at about 85 percent, the Huron County portion is ramping up, with expected completion next fall. The 140 miles of electric transmission lines and four new substations will serve to connect sources of power production, such as wind turbines and solar arrays, to the electric grid.

ITC Michigan President Gregory Ioanidis said the line will integrate renewable energy production, increase reliability and improve economic efficiency of the power grid. Ioanidis and other company officials spoke during a brief presentation at the Franklin Inn, Bad Axe, on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Ioanidis said the future-oriented project aims at getting the maximum outcome possible and that the "demand on the grid is unprecedented" as more devices, including vehicles, are being plugged in to it. He said the genesis of the "Michigan Thumb Loop" was the passage of Michigan's Renewable Portfolio Standard, as well as the area receiving primary wind zone designation.

The Clean, Renewable & Efficient Energy Act (PA295) passed in October of 2008 and created the Wind Energy Resource Board. In January of 2010, the Michigan Public Service Commission designated the Thumb as the state's primary wind development zone.

The double-circuit loop is designed to carry 345,000 volts, the highest capacity in the state.

Phase I of the loop passes through Sebewaing, Brookfield, Winsor, Oiver, Colfax, Verona, and Sigel townships, with scheduled completion in 2013.

Phase 2 will extend the loop from Sigel Township through Paris Township and into Sanilac and St, Clair counties, and is expected to be done by 2015.

About ITC:

International Transmission Company (d/b/a ITCTransmission) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company. ITCTransmission owns, operates and maintains approximately 2,800 circuit miles of transmission line in southeast Michigan, serving a population of 5.1 million. ITC invests in the electric transmission grid to improve system reliability, expand access to markets, lower the overall cost of delivered energy and allow new generating resources to interconnect to its transmission systems. Along with ITCTransmission, ITC's regulated operating subsidiaries include Michigan Electric Transmission Company, ITC Midwest and ITC Great Plains.

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