Project Development, Wind Power

ITC & NorthWestern Sign Green Power Express Agreement

ITC Holdings Corp. and NorthWestern Energy have signed an expression of interest to collaborate on the development of ITC’s seven-state Green Power Express transmission project.

The NorthWestern partnership is one of several ITC anticipates signing in support of the 3,000 mile, 765-kilovolt (kV) electrical system — a system expected to facilitate the flow of up to 12,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy from the upper Midwest to load centers in central Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions of the country.

“We welcome NorthWestern’s interest and participation in Green Power Express and see this agreement as another important milestone in our effort to bring this project to fruition,” said Edward Rahill, president of ITC Grid Development LLC. “It is clear that this project is gathering steam and will play an important role in supporting the development of reliable renewable energy in the country. ITC looks forward to building a partnership with Northwestern, MDU and all utilities in the region to make the Green Power Express a reality.”

Under the terms of the agreement, NorthWestern, headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has expressed its interest in exploring opportunities in Green Power Express LP. NorthWestern will collaborate with ITC on development efforts and securing the approvals needed to move the project forward. Green Power Express LP, will operate as an independent transmission company.

The Green Power Express transmission network project will provide grid access for many of the highest efficiency wind-farms in the upper Midwest and traverse portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

It will ultimately include close to 3,000 miles of extra high-voltage 765-kV transmission and will connect with existing 765-kV lines in Illinois and Indiana. The project will facilitate the flow of up to 12,000 MW of renewable, mostly wind, energy to the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. It is currently estimated to cost approximately $10-12 billion.

According to a study by CRA International, efficient movement of up to 12,000 MW of transfer capacity for wind power and the connectivity of over 20,000 MW through the Green Power Express project would result in a reduction of up to 34 million metric tons in carbon emissions, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of about seven to nine 600 MW coal plants, or nine to 11 million automobiles.