Transmission is Key to Unlocking Our Energy Future



Detroit 3D Cover-5

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From electric vehicles to renewable energy, the world is looking at electricity in a new way, and ITC is focused on building and maintaining a power grid that can handle it all. The path to a highly connected, advanced society in which vehicles and infrastructure talk to each other, drones make deliveries and sustainability takes centerstage is driven by electricity. The power grid requires significant upgrades to keep up with current and future needs, and ITC is working to build a greater grid for a greener future.

ITC’s Role in the Grid
Our power flows through a three-part system. First, electricity is generated at power plants before being converted to high voltage current so it can travel more efficiently over miles of transmission lines. Finally, it reaches local utilities, where it’s stepped down to a lower voltage and distributed over local power lines to homes, businesses, and other facilities.

ITC plans, builds, operates, and maintains transmission infrastructure, moving power from where it’s generated to where it’s needed. ITC is the nation’s largest independent electricity transmission company, focusing solely on transmission. ITC is responsible for the transmission grid across the majority of Michigan’s lower peninsula, most of Iowa and parts of Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

Innovation Requires Reliable Electricity
The innovations that shape our modern way of life, such as advanced manufacturing techniques, AI enabled queries, cloud computing and vehicles that get their power directly from the grid, are energy intensive. From urban communities to rural farm towns, innovation requires reliable electricity, and reliable electricity requires a modern transmission grid.

Every day, ITC’s system planners look at future scenarios and prepare for a range of possibilities to make sure society can continue to provide critical, cutting-edge services. ITC is ensuring that the greater grid can meet energy needs now and long into the future.

Innovative Transmission Technology
ITC takes great pride in its track record for reliability, making sure electricity is always available when needed. The company is always looking for innovative ways to solve challenges and maintain reliability.

One of the innovative technologies on ITC’s transmission lines is called Optical Ground Shield Wire (OGSW). The cable, strung on the top of transmission structures, serves two purposes when lightning strikes: first, it provides a path for the electricity to ground and automatically isolates the impacted line, taking it out of service. Second, it transmits data that tells ITC operators which lines are down so power can be restored or rerouted. Often, this process can happen so quickly that consumers never lose power. As communities transition to more intermittent renewable energy sources, OPGW will be vital to communicate where power is available and where it needs to be dispatched.

Innovative ideas and technologies are often used to perform cost-effective maintenance and upgrades with minimal disruption to the grid. Through work with AmpJack Industries Ltd., transmission structures have been made taller to accommodate upgrades that require different specifications without the need to rebuild or de-energize the line. By raising structures for ITC, AmpJack experts have helped save time and prevent costly outages associated with traditional construction methods.

ITC also leans on innovation to support its commitments to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Lines near high populations of birds can be equipped with yellow-coiled bird diverters, which are designed to help make the lines more visible to birds and discourage contact with the lines. Often ITC also seeds transmission corridors with native grasses and low-growing plants to support local pollinator populations, including the monarch butterfly.

Even regular line maintenance initiatives can be innovative. In areas prone to strong winds, lines can gallop. Galloping occurs when ice frozen on the lines catches the wind and makes the lines bounce around, causing safety and reliability concerns. ITC places devices on strategic portions of its lines to prevent galloping and assure reliability.

Innovation in Detroit
Up-to-date electric infrastructure has a profound effect on existing area businesses as well as a region’s ability to attract economic development. In the city of Detroit, ITC partnered with its customer, DTE Energy, on The Detroit Cable Project – a forward-looking approach to improve the reliability of electric service to residents and businesses. They constructed three new 120kV substations and installed several miles of new 120kV underground transmission lines. With the upgrades, Detroit has stronger, more reliable infrastructure that works best with the surrounding urban environment and helps drive future economic growth and innovation.

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