LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Our Perspective on the Statewide Energy Assessment
Following the extreme cold weather event earlier this year, Governor Whitmer directed the Michigan Public Service Commission to conduct a Statewide Energy Assessment to 1) evaluate whether the design of electric, natural gas and propane delivery systems are adequate to account for changing conditions and extreme weather events, and 2) provide recommendations to mitigate risk. The goal: to ensure safe, reliable energy for Michigan residents and businesses, and to be prepared to mitigate impacts during potential future events.
The Commission engaged with industry and stakeholders to gather and review information. As the owner and operator of a significant portion of the state’s transmission system in the lower peninsula, ITC offered its perspective on the challenges associated with the system-wide planning, coordination and integration that must occur to ensure the reliability and resiliency of the electric system and the best way to address those challenges:
- Continued investment in transmission is crucial to ensure that reliability is maintained as significant weather events increase in frequency and as the State replaces dispatchable coal generation resources with natural gas and intermittent generation. Increased coordination between the utilities, transmission companies, and other stakeholders is also necessary to ensure reliability given the rapidly-occurring changes.
- Michigan should work to increase the import capability of electric resources into the State because as Michigan retires coal plants and moves toward more wind, solar, and gas, there will be less diversity in internal, dispatchable resources. An increase in the import capability will result in greater operational flexibility and help ensure reliability as the State moves toward fewer fuel types and more intermittent generation resources. ITC believes that the best solution to increase the import capability into the State is an extra-high voltage (“EHV”) transmission system linking geographically remote regions.
- Planning and development of infrastructure investments to address the rapidly emerging needs of the electric system, such as an EHV transmission system, should begin in the near term because there will be little room to catch up in the future. Due to the long lead time for transmission development, the State must act now to ensure the state’s energy future.
You can CLICK HERE for a full review of ITC’s comments on the draft energy assessment, and the final report issued by Commission staff, on the MPSC website.
Next week, on Oct. 2, we’ll gather with customers, community leaders, stakeholders and other important partners to discuss these and other important issues facing our industry at ITC’s annual Partners in Business meeting in Lansing. We hope you’ll join us and keep the conversation going to ensure our state’s energy future is bright.
Simon S. Whitelocke
Vice President, ITC Holdings Corp. and President, ITC Michigan
ITC Holds Companywide Power of Caring Volunteer Day
ITC’s COMMUNITY COMMITMENT extends well beyond providing reliable energy. We take an active role in developing long-lasting relationships and partnerships within our communities. In addition to our charitable giving program, disaster relief and humanitarian support, and through many other engagements and partnerships, corporate volunteerism plays a large role in supporting our local communities.
On Sept. 12 & 18, approximately 200 ITC employees volunteered in partnership with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. The team worked to pull orders and pack produce in support of Gleaners’ mission to provide households with access to sufficient, nutritious food, and related resources.
Based in Detroit, Gleaners operates five distribution centers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties and provides food to 528 partner soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and other agencies throughout southeast Michigan. In 2018, Gleaners distributed more than 43 million pounds of food to neighbors in need! On average, Gleaners distributes 96,000 meals each day including providing nourishing food and nutrition education to 171,000 children a year.
ITC Charitable Giving Highlights
ITC is proud to support many 501(c)3 non-profit organizations from throughout our Michigan service territory. Our CHARITABLE GIVING PROGRAM focuses on education, environmental stewardship, health & wellness and social service organizations. ITC recently provided grants to:
- Camp Fish Tales
- Conservation Resource Alliance
- Girls on the Run of Ken and Muskegon Counties
- Gleaners Community Foodbank
- Grand Valley State University
- Open Roads Bike Program
- Pheasants Forever, Inc.
- Safe Haven Ministries
- Sweet Dreamzzz, Inc.
- Teen Hype
- The Shul
- Troy Nature Society
- Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
- YMCA OF SAGINAW
- Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels
Michigan Arbor Day Alliance Honors ITC for Longtime Support
The Michigan Arbor Day Alliance (MADA) honored ITC this month for its longtime support of the organization’s programs to promote environmental stewardship and education. State Arbor Day Coordinator Hannah Reynolds presented ITC with a plaque and framed picture of students who attended the 2019 State Arbor Day Celebration.
MADA, a program of the Eaton Conservation District, promotes and facilitates Arbor Day through a progressive network for the stewardship of forestry and natural resources in Michigan’s communities. In addition to the annual State Arbor Day Celebration, MADA offers a Tree Planting Grant to local units of government, schools, non-profits organizations, and more. This year, MADA was able to award six Tree Planting Grants, which will result in getting 73 trees rooted in communities across the state. Reynolds stated, “The MADA Tree Planting Grant program is funded solely on donations from our sponsors. Without support from ITC, MADA’s programs would not be possible. ITC’s continued support of the Michigan Arbor Day Alliance shows their dedication to promoting environmental education and stewardship as well as our goal to expand the urban canopy.”
ITC Helps Inspire Junior Women in Engineering at Michigan Tech
This summer, 40 girls in sixth through eighth grades took part in a life-changing opportunity to explore future careers in engineering. The Junior Women in Engineering program, part of Michigan Technological University’s Summer Youth Program, was made possible with a $40,000 gift from ITC.
“Michigan Tech’s Junior Women in Engineering program offers a great opportunity for motivated young women to learn more about engineering, experience university life, and build strong and lasting relationships with others who share their passion,” said Jon Jipping, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, ITC Holdings Corp. “The program is an exciting, educational way for young women to explore a variety of engineering disciplines and opportunities. ITC has long recognized the need for more young women to enter the engineering profession. It’s programs like this that quench the thirst for knowledge and help place students on the path to academic, professional, and personal success.”
Participants worked to problem solve, create, work in teams and learn to overcome obstacles — much like engineers do in their careers. A main focus of the program is to help girls learn what engineering entails and allow them to envision their future as women in STEM fields. In addition to exposure to careers in engineering, they get a taste of college life by staying in residence halls, attending class and engaging in recreation/social activities throughout campus. These experiences allow them to get a feel for the independence that comes with attending college.
ITC Human Performance Specialist Ashley Simpson volunteered her time to help kick off the program. As a past participant, she knows firsthand the difference it can make. “The program allowed me to develop and strengthen my commitment to hard work, while teaching the importance of perseverance and determination. That experience was a catalyst in my decision to become an Electrical Engineer. My hope is that programs like this continue to provide opportunities for young women to grow and succeed while at school, as well as after graduation,” said Simpson.
ITC’s Jessica Miller Named Among Notable Women in STEM
In June, CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS released its 2019 report of Notable Women in STEM. ITC’s Jessica Miller was honored to be included. The women featured were selected by a team of editors based on their career accomplishments, track record of success in the field, contributions to their community and mentorship of others.
As Director of Capital Projects, Engineering, Jessica oversees a team of project managers, construction managers and project control specialists who work on, among other projects, discreet transmission substations and transmission line projects. She spearheaded the development and implementation of a unifier system, a complex management software solution that aggregates information to help ITC Holdings, a capital projects company, identify and employ efficiencies and control costs.
In addition, Jessica is heavily invested in promoting STEM fields, such as power engineering, to tech-oriented young women and supporting internships with ITC and similar organizations.
“Jessica is an exceptional role model for young women in STEM. Her leadership in ITC’s Women in Engineering has not only helped to develop the careers of other women engineers at ITC but has also reached outside of ITC to inspire young women in our communities to get them excited about STEM-related fields for their own career paths,” said Joe Bennett, vice president of Engineering at ITC Holdings.
ITC’s Women in Engineering group supports activities at Eastern Michigan University’s Digital Divas program and Livingston County’s Camp Infinity, a week-long summer camp.
ITC to Connect 150 MW of Wind to METC System
As Michigan continues to transition to a cleaner portfolio of power generation resources, additional transmission capacity will be needed to promote the continued reliability of the bulk power system and support the interconnection of new generation resources.
ITC’s J538 GENERATOR INTERCONNECTION PROJECT will connect 150 MW of wind generation to ITC’s Michigan Electric Transmission Company, LLC (METC) system. To support the interconnection, ITC will construct a new substation, called Knowles, in Adams Twp. The substation will connect to the Moore Road – Beecher 138,000 volt (138 kV) transmission line. Additionally, ITC will install approximately 6 miles of optical ground wire (OPGW) between the new substation and the existing Moore Road substation. OPGW combines the shielding and communication functions, and provides for improved communication speed and reliability of the line. Construction will begin in Q2 2020 and is expected to be completed in Q4 2020.
ITC Partners with Wolverine Power Cooperative to Upgrade Aging Infrastructure
ITC’s METC subsidiary is upgrading electricity transmission infrastructure in west Michigan, where it will retire its aging BLENDON SUBSTATION and work with Wolverine Power Cooperative to acquire and convert its nearby 69,000 volt (69 kV) ring bus station to 138 kV. Additionally, ITC will relocate its Four Mile and Campbell 138 kV lines into the new station, which will interconnect with Grand Haven Board of Light & Power and Zeeland Board of Public Works. Construction will begin in Q3 2019 and be completed in Q1 2020.
The J538 and Blendon Substation projects demonstrate ITC’s ongoing commitment to the operational efficiency and reliability of Michigan’s high-voltage transmission grid. The company has invested more than $4.5 billion in capital project maintenance and transmission infrastructure improvements in Michigan since 2003. These investments are improving the reliability and safety of the transmission infrastructure while ensuring its ability to meet new energy demands.
ITC Hosts Annual Fortis Investor Day
On September 10, Fortis Inc. held its 2019 Investor Day at ITC’s Novi headquarters. Barry Perry, President and Chief Executive Officer and Jocelyn Perry, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer provided an update on operations, recent developments and the strategic outlook for 2020 to 2024. Guests enjoyed site tours, formal presentations and roundtable discussions with the Corporation’s Executive Vice Presidents and Chief Executive Officers from Fortis subsidiaries. An archived webcast of the event is available at WWW.FORTISINC.COM.
There’s Still Time to RSVP! Partners in Business will be in Lansing on October 2
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 2 at the Henry Center for this year’s meeting!
Click HERE to RSVP for the meeting and afternoon networking.