116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
As presenting sponsor for the upcoming Iowa Ideas Conference, ITC Midwest is proud to engage in the discussion about issues impacting our state — now and in the future. One of this year’s panels will focus on “Building the Grid,” and the discussion is timely.
From extreme weather events to the unprecedented transition to renewable energy generation, from the rapid adoption of electric vehicles to the increasing focus on energy system resilience, the electric utility industry is suddenly in the national spotlight. All of these forces reinforce the critical role of the transmission grid to support the changing landscape and ensure consumers have access to low-cost, clean and reliable electricity.
ITC Midwest is responding to these changes as we deliver electricity from the point of generation to distribution utilities that directly serve consumers. In the midst of change, our focus remains on providing reliable, cost-effective transmission service.
Over the past 14 years, ITC Midwest has invested more than $4 billion to modernize and improve the electric grid in our region. These investments provide value in the form of enhanced reliability with system outages reduced by 62%, access to more renewable energy resources, and capacity for economic growth.
But the transformation of the region’s energy landscape doesn’t allow the electric utility sector to rest on our past successes. Many of these changes require infrastructure investment to ensure grid stability. Consider a few of the current trends:
More renewable generation sources — Consumer demand and declining costs are driving the move toward renewable energy resources. Governments, corporations and other organizations pursuing sustainability goals are demanding clean energy. Traditional baseload generating plants are being retired at an unprecedented pace, as evidenced by this chart showing a significant shift in generating capacity connected to ITC Midwest’s transmission system since 2007.
To meet that demand, utilities and renewable energy developers are adding wind and solar farms in Iowa and across the upper Midwest. MISO, the regional grid operator, reports more than 20 gigawatts of renewable energy are proposed in Iowa, Minnesota and western Wisconsin — enough to power 14 million homes. The development of robust transmission infrastructure must keep pace to connect these renewables to the power grid.
System storm resilience — When it comes to extreme weather, we’ve experienced firsthand the powerful effects of Mother Nature. The widespread power outages caused by last summer’s devastating derecho in Iowa, the recent hurricane that affected the southern and northeastern U.S., and last winter’s extended subfreezing temperatures across much of the country demonstrate the importance of a resilient and reliable electric power grid.
Continued investments in transmission are essential to ensure older transmission lines are rebuilt to provide greater system resiliency and reliability during extreme weather events. At ITC Midwest, we are working to harden our energy delivery systems to provide greater redundancy to the entire grid and keep power flowing to consumers during storms. The unprecedented derecho we experienced last August is now precedented, and we must prepare for the next time.
Electric vehicles — Buzz around vehicle electrification is intensifying. Major automakers have announced phaseouts of gas-powered vehicles over the next 15 years. Many government entities and organizations have declared ambitious transportation electrification commitments — all with a focus on the decarbonization of transportation.
In the near future, fast vehicle charging stations will require large amounts of electricity from the transmission grid. Additional investments to the transmission system are needed to meet the power demand for vehicle electrification at the lowest cost.
Modernizing the power grid is key to harnessing the full potential of low-cost renewable energy sources, weathering more intense storms, and charging a growing fleet of electric vehicles. By investing in our transmission system, we are meeting consumer demands in a cost-effective manner.
As the energy landscape continues to rapidly evolve, we encourage everyone to stay informed and engaged in the discussion. Being informed means understanding your electric service as well as the costs and benefits associated with it.
Getting to the energy future consumers want requires proper planning and investment. The result will be a seamless continuation of the reliable, resilient and responsive electricity grid that is key to Iowa’s continued growth.
Dusky Terry is president of ITC Midwest. firstname.lastname@example.org