The Thumb Lop high-voltage transmission project in Michigan has been completed by ITCTransmission, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITC Holdings Corp., U.S.’s largest independent electricity transmission company. As ITC energizes the third and final phase of the project with approximately US$510 million of investment, the 345,000 kW line will now serve as the backbone to transmit up to 5,000 MW of wind power across Michigan’s Thumb region.
“Conceiving and completing the Thumb Loop project is 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,” said Joseph L. Welch, chairman, president and CEO of ITC Holdings Corp. “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 project expands the state’s agricultural processing abilities and allows it to add low-cost renewable energy to the power grid and saved Michigan ratepayers real money. The project further demonstrates the importance and necessity of evaluating transmission infrastructure plans to ensure a better energy future.
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.