ITC Holdings Corp. last week said that over the past year it has worked to develop the “Green Power Express,” a network of transmission lines that would move12,000 MW of power from wind-abundant areas in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Iowa to Midwest load centers, such as Chicago, southeastern Wisconsin, Minneapolis, and other states that demand renewable energy.

The new project, which is estimated to cost between $10 billion and $12 billion, addresses the recognized lack of electric transmission infrastructure needed to integrate renewable wind energy, the company said in a press release on Feb. 11.

“We are proud to announce the Green Power Express after almost a year of studies, stakeholder discussions and development,” said Joseph L. Welch, chairman, president and CEO of ITC. “The Green Power Express will create the much-needed link between the renewable energy-rich regions of the Midwest and high-demand population centers. The plan is consistent with efforts supported by organizations such as the Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative and promotes a national energy vision. ITC looks forward to continuing to work with them and other stakeholders in the region to move forward with this long-term solution to our national energy challenges.”

The Green Power Express transmission project will traverse portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana and will ultimately include approximately 3,000 miles of extra high-voltage (765-kV) transmission.

Portions of the Green Power Express fall within the service territory of ITC Midwest, an ITC subsidiary. ITC has been working with many of the Upper Midwest wind developers over the last year in assembling a realistic accounting of their wind development plans and sites, which resulted in the design of the Green Power Express. As ITC continues to work with wind developers and other local utilities in the region to identify their project needs, additional lines and stations may be identified that would effectively accumulate the available wind generation within the region.

“The Green Power Express is in many ways the true definition of a ‘smart grid’,” said Welch. “According to a study by CRA International, efficient movement of up to 12,000 MW of wind power through the Green Power Express would result in a reduction of up to 34 million metric tons in carbon emissions, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of about seven to nine 600 MW coal plants, or nine to eleven million automobiles.”

In support of the Green Power Express, newly created ITC limited partnership Green Power Express LP last week filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requesting approval of a revenue requirement formula and incentives for the construction of the Green Power Express including the approval of a regulatory asset for recovery of development expenses, which will enable ITC to continue development efforts for the Green Power Express.

ITC will seek to partner with local utilities and wind developers in the region for the build-out of the Green Power Express. Current supporters include: NorthWestern Energy, NextEra Energy (formerly FPLE), Iberdrola Renewables, Generation Energy Inc., Montgomery Power Partners, Denali Energy, National Wind, Crownbutte Wind Power, Wind Capital Group, and RES Americas.

Source: ITC