December 8, 2022
  • December 8, 2022

How to modernize the power grid in Iowa and the country

By on September 24, 2021 0


Many of these changes require investments in infrastructure to ensure network stability.

As the main sponsor of the next Iowa Ideas Conference, ITC Midwest is proud to engage in the discussion of issues impacting our state, now and in the future. One of this year’s panels will focus on “Building the Network”, and the discussion is timely.

From extreme weather events to the unprecedented shift to renewable energy production, from the rapid adoption of electric vehicles to the growing emphasis on resilient energy systems, the electric utility industry is suddenly under pressure. national spotlights. All these forces reinforce the essential role of the transport network in supporting the changing landscape and guaranteeing consumers access to low-cost, clean and reliable electricity.

ITC Midwest is responding to these changes by providing point-of-generation electricity to distribution utilities that directly serve consumers. In the midst of change, our goal remains to provide reliable and cost effective transportation service.

Over the past 14 years, ITC Midwest has invested over $ 4 billion to modernize and improve our region’s electricity grid. These investments deliver value in the form of increased reliability with system failures reduced by 62%, access to more renewable energy resources and capacity for economic growth.

But the transformation of the region’s energy landscape does not allow the electricity sector to build on our past successes. Many of these changes require investments in infrastructure to ensure network stability. Consider some of the current trends:

More renewable sources of production – Consumer demand and falling costs are driving the movement towards renewable energy resources. Governments, businesses and other organizations pursuing sustainable development goals demand clean energy. Traditional base plants are being phased out at an unprecedented rate, as evidenced by this graph showing a significant change in generation capacity connected to ITC Midwest’s transmission grid since 2007.

To meet this demand, utilities and renewable energy developers are adding wind and solar farms in Iowa and the upper Midwest. MISO, the regional grid operator, reports that more than 20 gigawatts of renewable energy are on offer in Iowa, Minnesota and western Wisconsin – enough to power 14 million homes. The development of robust transport infrastructure must keep pace to connect these renewable energies to the electricity grid.

System resilience to storms – When it comes to extreme weather conditions, we have witnessed the powerful effects of Mother Nature. Widespread power outages caused by last summer’s devastating derecho in Iowa, the recent hurricane that hit the southern and northeastern United States, and the prolonged freezing temperatures of last winter in a much of the country demonstrates the importance of a resilient and reliable electricity grid.

Ongoing investments in transportation are essential to ensure that old transmission lines are rebuilt to provide greater system resilience and reliability during extreme weather events. At ITC Midwest, we strive to strengthen our power distribution systems to provide greater redundancy to the entire grid and maintain power to consumers during storms. The unprecedented derecho we experienced last August is now a precedent, and we must prepare for the next time.

Electric vehicles – The buzz surrounding the electrification of vehicles is intensifying. Major automakers have announced the phase-out of gasoline vehicles over the next 15 years. Many government entities and organizations have declared ambitious commitments to transport electrification, while emphasizing the decarbonization of transport.

In the near future, fast-charging stations for vehicles will require large amounts of electricity from the transmission grid. Further investment in the transmission system is needed to meet the demand for electricity for vehicle electrification at the lowest cost.

Modernizing the electricity grid is key to harnessing the full potential of low-cost renewable energy sources, weathering more intense storms and recharging a growing fleet of electric vehicles. By investing in our transportation network, we are responding to consumer demands cost-effectively.

As the energy landscape continues to rapidly evolve, we encourage everyone to stay informed and engaged in the discussion. Being informed is about understanding your electrical service and the costs and benefits associated with it.

Achieving the energy desired by future consumers requires proper planning and investment. The result will be seamless continuity of the reliable, resilient, and responsive power grid that is key to Iowa’s continued growth.

Dusky Terry is president of ITC Midwest. [email protected]