The Grid of the Future

In the late 1800s, the concept of transmission first took shape as early innovators sought to move electricity over long distances. Over the next century, rapid industrialization would spur the growth of vast networks of generation, transmission and distribution systems to power the economy. Today, we are seeing another leap forward towards more renewable energy, increased reliability and use of advanced technology. How will the grid of the future facilitate this changing energy landscape?

As we think about the future grid, we need to shift our mindset on how we get our power and where it comes from…envision tying regions together with stronger infrastructure and built-in redundancy to connect renewable resources, enhance reliability and support capacity requirements. The grid will be the critical link from energy generation and distributed power generation sources to population centers across the country.

ITC is focused on proactive planning and investing now to adapt to this changing landscape. We know that smart and timely investment in backbone transmission infrastructure is the best means for delivering customer benefits – by efficiently facilitating the integration of technologies and fuel sources.

As part of this process, ITC undertook a study that examines Michigan’s Capacity Import Limit (CIL), or basically, how much generation capacity can be imported into the Lower Peninsula through our transmission connections with Ohio and Indiana. Through the study process, ITC determined that in order to import more power into Michigan, voltage issues must be addressed. That is, we currently have enough wire in the system to maintain or increase imports, but imports are limited by low voltage constraints and will become severely impaired when considering the recent generation retirements announcements for Michigan. To address this, ITC is evaluating an innovative solution based on proven technology – Static Var Compensators (SVC) – that will not only allow for additional capacity to be imported, but also provide an operational tool to ensure voltage stability for a diverse set of system conditions. This means that more power can be reliably transmitted through the system over existing lines from a variety of generation sources.

Today’s transmission planners, regulators and RTOs are facing unique and complex challenges to manage reliability and capacity issues, while also thinking about how to design the grid of the future. The good news is that transmission investment offers a multitude of benefits – enabling access to lower-cost, greener resources, reliably and efficiently. We’ve come a long way since the early days of transmission, but clearly there is much more to do today to meet the long-term needs of tomorrow.


Simon S. Whitelocke
Vice President, ITC Holdings Corp. and President, ITC Michigan


Powering Ford’s Transformation

A transformation is taking shape across Ford Motor Company’s World Headquarters campus in Dearborn, Mich. From a new 700,000 square-foot Design Center, to “connected facilities” and new green spaces, more than 1.3 million square feet of space is being reworked as part of a massive, 10-year renovation.

That required Ford to re-examine its energy needs. “In the last two years, our focus has been infrastructure. Energy is one of the most important infrastructure elements, and having more reliable power, to support our facilities for the next 50 years is a very important aspect of our transformation plan,” said George Andraos, Director, Engineering & Energy, Ford Motor Co.

As in much of the country, Ford’s campus was powered by infrastructure dating back 50-60 years that was not designed to meet modern demands. “As we began developing our infrastructure plan, we realized the need for more capacity and reliable power,” said Andraos. “We turned to our partners, DTE and ITC, for a solution that would provide greater reliability and redundancy.”

The solution: replace the existing three distribution circuits to Ford’s campus by connecting to a new 120,000 – 13,200 volt (120 kV to 13.2 kV) substation that would connect to ITC’s existing 120 kV Crestwood –Arctic transmission line via a new half-mile 120 kV underground transmission line. Construction began in the fall of 2017 and was completed in early 2018.

“It was a great effort between DTE, ITC and Ford, looking for the most effective way to bring two redundant 120 kV lines into our site, and, being able to execute this project successfully took lots of effort from all sides,” said Andraos. “Having reliable power is essential, and working in an urban environment to get more reliable power here was not without its challenges – getting easements and permits, dealing with tight schedules and locations. Without the effort of all of us working together, and the effort of the community, it would have been very difficult to achieve success. In the end, the benefit of this project to Ford is tremendous.” WATCH THE VIDEO.


The Power of Poetry

At Roberto Clemente Learning Academy, a Detroit Public School on Detroit’s south side, three third grade classes celebrated the work they have accomplished throughout the year working with InsideOut, a literary arts program. At this year-end celebration the students were overjoyed to receive a book made up of poems they have written this past year, reflect on the year, and share their work with their peers, teachers and parents.

InsideOut leverages language and poetry to connect Detroit’s youth to their resiliency while increasing student reading and writing skills. They dispatch some of metro Detroit’s most accomplished writers into classrooms across the region to inspire students to become more confident and enthusiastic readers and writers.

InsideOut, with support from ITC’s Charitable Giving Program, was able to send writers to Roberto Clemente Learning Academy and Schulze Elementary during the 2017-2018 school year. ITC’s funding enabled InsideOut to provide arts-infused writing workshops to around 300 students at these two Detroit Public Schools that currently have little or no cultural arts programming.

“Students indicate that the program has improved their writing skills and their ability to express their feelings, deal with stress, understand themselves, and connect with others. We are so grateful for ITC’s grant that was able to provide these schools with our robust educational and cultural programming” says Peter Markus, senior writer with InsideOut.

InsideOut has taken issues they have seen in the community with Detroit youth and have used it as a motive to drive their efforts and make an impact. Only 35% of Detroit’s third graders scored “proficient” in reading on standardized reading tests. A teacher who’s been working with InsideOut for several years said, “Underserved children show the most growth in literacy when reading and writing instruction encourages them to develop their own individual voices.”

ITC’s continuing commitment to the community has enabled us to connect with the youth and schools in Detroit, and we are proud to support such an inspiring and impactful program. WATCH THE VIDEO.


Michigan’s vast network of trails traverse 12,500 miles of state-designated trails, 2,600 miles of rail trails, and a number of “transmission trails” that offer hikers, bikers, nature enthusiasts and others the opportunity to appreciate and enjoy nature. In recent years, ITC has partnered with urban communities where open space is at a premium to develop recreational trails in its transmission corridors.

ITC takes pride in being a good neighbor in our local communities. We work with communities to keep these transmission corridor trails clear of excessive vegetation that can overtake the trails and interfere with transmission lines, ensuring area residents are able to enjoy the natural beauty of the trails and continue receiving safe and reliable power. Visit MICHIGAN.GOV to find a trail near you! WATCH THE VIDEO.


ITCTransmission:  State – Pioneer

To support electric reliability and increase capacity in the Ann Arbor area, ITC will construct approximately three miles of 120,000 volt (120kV) double-circuit transmission line to connect the State and Pioneer substations. Construction is scheduled to begin in Q4 2018 and will take approximately eight months.


Jon Jipping Inducted Into MTU Electrical and Computer Engineering Academy

Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) has

inducted ITC’s Jon Jipping into the ECE ACADEMY. Selection into the Academy recognizes excellence and leadership in engineering and civic affairs. Inductees represent the most successful of MTU’s more than 9,600 electrical and computer engineering graduates. Fewer than 75 alumni have been inducted over the last 20 years. 

“I’m honored to join such a distinguished group of alumni as a member of the Academy, which shines a light on professionals, careers and achievements in STEM-related fields. It is especially meaningful to me being inducted with my graduate advisor, Dr. Wiitanen, who has taught and inspired so many in our industry,” says Jipping.

Linda Apsey Named to DBusiness Magazine’s Detroit 500 List

Linda Apsey has been named to DBUSINESS MAGAZINE’S DETROIT 500, a comprehensive list of the most powerful executives in more than 30 industries across metro Detroit and Michigan. The most highly selective biographical database of business leaders in our region and state, the resource list of individuals was compiled based on a number of factors including the size of a given company or organization, growth rate, geographical reach, and extensive personal contacts.


There’s Still Time to RSVP! Partners in Business will be in Grand Rapids on October 4

Each year the ITC team gathers with customers, stakeholders, local officials and business partners to offer updates on our activities and projects. Through these annual Partners in Business (PIB) meetings, we work to build connections and share information that allows you to maximize the benefits of our investments in the regional grid.

We hope you’ll join us on October 4 at the Eberhard Center at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids for this year’s meeting. We’ll be hosting the meeting during the 10th annual ArtPrize, so plan ahead to take in some amazing art exhibits throughout the city of Grand Rapids. Hotels will book up fast, make your reservations soon if you plan to stay over.

Click HERE to RSVP

ArtPrize 10: September 19 – October 7

ITC is proud to support ArtPrize, an open, independently organized international art competition held throughout downtown Grand Rapids. ArtPrize is free and open to the public and now attracts over 500,000 visitors, making it the most attended public art event in the world in 2014 and 2015, according the Art Newspaper’s annual “Big Ticket List.”


Increasing Reliability

ITC has steadily reduced the number of outages on its two Michigan systems since it acquired the assets in 2003 and 2006 as a result of our system investments over the years and ongoing operations and maintenance program.

Each of ITC’s high voltage transmission systems performed among the top 25% of utilities for reliability performance in the North American Transmission Forum (NATF) annual benchmark survey measuring sustained outages per circuit in 2017. The most recent NATF dataset covered 85 companies representing 74% of line miles at 100kV and above in the U.S. and Canada.