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Windmills producing energy in rural areas of Michigan's thumb soon will have additional linkages to power markets.

Thumb Loop High Voltage Line to Serve Growing Need from Wind Farms

ITC Gets MPSC OK to Begin Construction of 140 Miles of Power Linkages

February 26, 2011       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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More electric power from wind farms in Michigan's Thumb region will soon be able to flow.

ITCTransmission has announced it has received a siting certificate for its Thumb Loop high-voltage transmission line project from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

The MPSC siting order for the Thumb Loop is pursuant to Michigan's "Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act" (Public Act 295) and the MPSC's January 27, 2010 order designating the Thumb region, as identified by the Michigan Wind Energy Resource Zone Board, as the primary wind energy resource zone in Michigan.

The MPSC order is the final major regulatory approval required for the project which consists of approximately 140 miles of double-circuit 345,000 volt (345 kV) lines and four new substations.

The Thumb Loop project will serve as the backbone of a system designed to meet the identified minimum and maximum wind energy potential of the Thumb region. It will have capacity of 5,000 MW.

As an important link in the high-voltage transmission system in the state and region, it also will reducing congestion, improve reliability and boost market competitiveness.

"ITC appreciates the hard work and commitment from the MPSC commissioners and staff to review our siting application and approve a final route for this milestone project," said Gregory Ioanidis, president of ITC Michigan.

"This is an important step in Michigan and the region toward meeting public policy objectives, facilitating the interconnection of renewables and lowering energy prices. We will continue to work cooperatively with the MPSC, local officials, affected landowners and the public in an open and transparent manner as we begin the right-of-way acquisition process and work toward finalizing design and beginning construction."

The approved route traverses Tuscola, Huron, Sanilac and St. Clair counties. ITC will analyze the route and begin contacting landowners who have property along the route to discuss how the line will affect their property.

Additional lines and facilities will be needed in the future as wind generators go into service and connect to the backbone system. The project will be constructed in stages, with the first segment, the western side of the loop from Tuscola County to Huron County, expected to start during the first quarter of 2012 and finish in late 2013. The remainder would be targeted for completion by 2015.

For more information about the Thumb Loop project, please visit ###

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
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