Letter from the President - Fall 2020

2020: An Astounding Year

Thomas Edison once said, "If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." As I look back on 2020, and the many challenges and changes we all faced, it is astounding to see just how much we accomplished this year.

I think no where is that more true than “in the field,” where we continue to rebuild aging transmission infrastructure, while constructing new lines and substations where they are needed to ensure reliability and interconnect customers to the greater grid. We completed major rebuild projects including Bell Road – Cornell, Garfield – Hemphill, Karn – Saginaw River and Verona – Barnum Creek; completed load interconnections including the new State and Magneto substations, and the Donaldson Creek Expansion; connected new generation at our Goss, Knowles, Nelson and Salt River substations; began several significant rebuild projects including Four Mile – Wealthy St., Stover – Van Tyle, Argenta –  Morrow, Barnum Creek – Batavia and Vestaburg – Alma, as well as the Puttygut and Meyer substations; completed significant maintenance work on the Rouge Industrial Complex assets; and completed significant projects in Coldwater, Detroit and elsewhere to support economic growth and development. The list goes on and on – see our website to read more about ITC’s projects.

Above all, as always, we completed our field work safely, with new protocols in place to address Covid-19. In fact, this year has been one of our safest on record in terms of OSHA recordable injuries. We’ve developed new social distancing work practices, and implemented new equipment to facilitate distancing while allowing projects to move forward. Our field teams meet weekly to review these safety practices against scheduled work, and make adjustments as needed.

Providing safe, reliable transmission service to meet the needs of customers and the communities we serve…that’s something that hasn’t changed in 2020. On behalf of the entire ITC Michigan team, we appreciate the opportunity to serve you and look forward to working with you in the coming year. We hope you enjoy a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.

Sincerely,

Simon Whitelocke

Simon Whitelocke
Vice President, ITC Holding Corp., and President, ITC Michigan

 

COMMUNITY COMMITMENT

Supporting Michigan's Small Business Community

As our nation continues to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, ITC has committed funding to support economic development organizations and initiatives that support the small business community throughout Michigan. The relief effort is part of ITC’s two-phase funding commitment to support relief agencies throughout its seven-state footprint.

ITC will provide funding to support the work of Advancing Macomb, Ann Arbor/Livingston SPARK, Main Street Oakland County, the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance, Monroe Business Development Corporation, and the Traverse Connect/Venture North Regional Resiliency Fund, that provide a lifeline to many small businesses throughout Michigan. ITC also will support the creation of new businesses and jobs through incubator programs including Conquer Accelerator (MSU Foundation) and TechTown Detroit (Wayne State University). Previous relief funds were provided by ITC earlier this year to food charities, and agencies that provide mental health and substance abuse services.


Celebrating the Season

Throughout Michigan, ITC is celebrating the holidays with the communities we serve. From the Holiday Lights at the MSU Tollgate Farm in Novi to Christmas in Ida and the Wayne County Lightfest, we’re pleased to support and take part in these local traditions.

Another tradition that we’ve continued this year is lighting up our 150-foot transmission towers with colorful holiday lights and a festive greeting. Look for our lighted towers in:

  • Grand Rapids (US 131 north of 28th Street SW)
  • Marysville (M-29 Busha Hwy. and Huron Blvd.)
  • Novi (I-96 at Meadowbrook)




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Supporting Economic Development in Coldwater

Located in south-central Michigan, the City of Coldwater’s convenient location and quality of life beckon both residents and businesses alike, making reliable power essential in this quaint and thriving community. In recent years, Coldwater also has attracted a number of significant industrial developments, bringing new jobs and opportunity to the area.

Coldwater’s electricity needs have long been served by the Coldwater Board of Public Utilities (CBPU); its hallmarks being reliability, customer service and responsiveness. So, in 2015, when Clemens Food Group made the decision to invest more than $255 million in a new pork processing plant and bring 800 new jobs to Coldwater (this number has now grown to over 1,200 direct and indirect jobs created), the CBPU and ITC got to work planning system improvements that would support power quality and the area’s growing load.

At the time, Coldwater was served by two transmission feeds coming into the city, but on the same structures. “This presented some risk to our industrial customers. We wanted to provide more redundancy that would reduce that risk, not only for Clemens Food Group but for our other industrial customers that depend on reliable power,” said Jeff Budd, Utility Director for Coldwater Board of Public Utilities. Coldwater also is home to Maroa Farms, Asama Coldwater Manufacturing and a WalMart distribution center, among others.

The approach:  a two-phase, multi-year project that would bring new substations and transmission lines to the City of Coldwater, and in

Coldwater, Girard and Union Townships, providing the system redundancy that Coldwater required.

Phase one of the project consisted of a new substation called Newton that connects to the existing Michigan Avenue substation via a three-mile, 138kV, single-circuit transmission line. Construction began in late 2016 and was completed in early 2017. Phase two of the project consisted of a new substation called Wagner that connects both the existing Verona – Batavia 138kV transmission line, as well as the Newton substation via a new 138kV single-circuit transmission line. Construction of the Wagner substation, and Wagner – Newton transmission line was completed in late 2019. Construction of the Butters substation, which began in early 2020, and connects to the existing Coldwater – Michigan Ave 138 kV line, will be wrapping up this month, essentially completing the project. 

“The tremendous amount of work over the years really speaks to the focus and dedication of both the Coldwater and ITC teams to improving the Coldwater system,” said Andrew Cameron, Electrical Engineer for Coldwater Board of Public Utilities. “We appreciate that ITC was willing to work with our industrial customers to minimize the impact on their production. The partnership between ITC, Coldwater Board of Public Utilities and our industrial customers was very unique and necessary to get the job done.”

Now, as Coldwater looks to the future, its infrastructure has become a selling point to attract new investment, especially in rural areas that previously weren’t able to compete. Says Budd, “When it comes to economic development, where we’re located, we’re competing with Indiana and Ohio. A potential customer always wants to know about the quality of the power. Now, we take them out and show them our infrastructure, show them the ITC substations and how we’ve built redundancy into our system. It makes a big difference.”

 

In the Environment

Seedling prep

ITC Supports Wild Roots

Planting the right trees in the right places – away from power lines – can provide many benefits. Trees add beauty, privacy and wildlife habitat to the landscape while helping conserve energy by providing wind protection, shade and cool air.

In northern Michigan, ITC is partnering with the Conservation Resource Alliance on a significant reforestation initiative called Wild Roots, which is designed to improve the health and resilience of northern Michigan’s watersheds and natural habitats.

“We’re really excited that ITC shares our Big Goals for planting 100,000 trees over 5 years across northern Michigan. If this experiment is successful, it will accelerate reforestation, which we understand is the single best action landowners in our region can take to combat climate change,” said Amy Beyer, director of the CRA. “ITC walks their talk in helping sustain our precious environment; it’s absolutely everything to us Up North!”

The program will provide for 20,000 native seedlings per year, targeting 2,000 acres of critical conservation land across 15 counties.

“ITC is proud to partner with the Conservation Resource Alliance, which is known for its stewardship and collaboration to improve the natural landscape,” said Donna Zalewski, director of community affairs and philanthropy for ITC. “We look forward to seeing this program grow!”

For more information about the Conservation Resource Alliance and the Wild Roots program, please visit https://www.rivercare.org/wildroots.

 

OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE

ITC Opens New Warehouse in St. Johns

This summer, ITC opened a new warehouse facility in St. Johns, roughly 30 miles north of Lansing. The 105,000 sq. ft. facility is strategically located in the heart of the lower peninsula and is already providing many efficiencies to ITC’s Supply Chain team and contractor crews, including increased storage for emergency material, improved emergency response times with centralized material, staff, and equipment, and improved field delivery time while reducing operating expenses.

ITC would like to thank and acknowledge officials from the City of St. Johns, Bingham Township, Clinton County, and the Clinton County Economic Alliance for their support. ITC is proud to be part of the St. Johns community!

st johns warehouse


ITC 2020 Home Energy Use Survey

ITC is committed to providing our customers with safe, reliable and affordable energy. As part of this effort, we are conducting a Residential Energy Survey to gather information about energy usage in homes, apartments and condominiums. This information will be used to help plan future energy needs. The survey will be issued in December to a limited number of households throughout Michigan. Questions regarding the survey may be directed to 1-877-ITC-ITC9 or support@impact.dnvgl.com



 

PROJECT UPDATE

Across Michigan, ITC is committed to serving customers and communities by providing safe, secure, reliable electricity transmission service to meet their needs.

Blue Water Project

In Southeast Michigan, as part of ITC’s Blue Water Project, the company is constructing two new 345kV substations, rebuilding four miles of an existing 120kV line and replacing a number of structures on lines connecting to the new stations. Together, these infrastructure improvements represent a forward-looking, cost-effective approach that will improve the reliability of electric service to residents and

businesses, facilitate new generation sources, and support current and future electricity demand throughout the region. Highlights include:

  • Puttygut Station – Construction is underway on the new 345kV Puttygut Station in China Twp. The station will connect to the existing Jewell – St. Clair #1 and Belle River – Fitz #2 345kV lines via new transmission lines. The station and Belle River- Fitz #2 line construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2021. The Jewell - St. Clair #1 line construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2021.
  • Crimson Station – ITC will construct the new 345kV Crimson Station in Washington Twp.  starting in 2021. It will cut in to the existing Belle River – Pontiac 345kV line and connect to a new Crimson – Jewell 345kV line. Additionally, ITC will replace approximately 10 structures on the proposed Belle River – Crimson 345kV line and approximately 12 structures on the proposed Crimson – Pontiac 345kV line. The station and line construction are expected to be completed in the spring of 2022.
  • Hamlin – Spokane Line Rebuild – ITC will rebuild four miles of the Hamlin – Spokane 120 kV transmission line in Rochester Hills with higher-rated conductor (wires) for greater capacity. Construction will start in early 2021 and be completed by the summer of 2021.
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Riggsville - Port Calcite - Rockport

In northern Michigan, ITC is improving the reliability of high voltage electrical service by rebuilding approximately 70 miles of the Riggsville - Port Calcite - Rockport 138,000 volt (138 kV) double circuit transmission line, which spanning the northeast lower peninsula. Construction kicked off in November on the 24-mile Port Calcite - Rockport line, which will be followed by the 45-mile Riggsville - Port Calcite line. The existing wood poles will be replaced with steel monopoles with new conductor (wires). The entire project is expected to be completed in 2023.


ITC and Hydro One Complete Line Upgrades Across Detroit River

In early December, Hydro One and ITC completed upgrades on an international transmission line that extends across the Detroit River from the Keith Transformer Station in Windsor, Ontario to ITC’s Waterman station in Detroit. The companies upgraded equipment and installed optical ground wire, an important component on transmission lines that helps protect equipment from lightning strikes and improves communication capabilities across the electricity system. Crews used a pulley system method to safely install the optical ground wire across the approximately half-mile span of the river. Hydro One and the ITC received regulatory permits and worked together with partners including the Canadian and United States Coast Guards, RCMP and Windsor Police along with the Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority, Windsor Port Authority and Transport Canada to safely complete these important upgrades.

Photo courtesy of Hydro One

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