Helping harness wind-energy development in the Midwest, ITC Midwest connected 716 megawatts (MW) of installed wind-energy generation to the company’s electric transmission system in 2009.

The amount of energy produced by this generation is approximately the same as the electric energy consumed by 200,000 homes. Combined with the 810 MW of new wind generation connected to the ITC Midwest system during 2008, the company has connected more than 1,500 MW of wind energy in the two years since it established operations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri.

ITC Midwest acquired nearly 6,800 miles of electric transmission lines in December 2007 from Alliant Energy’s Interstate Power and Light Co. subsidiary.

The 716 MW of new wind generation connected in 2009 represents the nameplate output of five new Iowa wind farms. ITC is also working with wind-energy developers on their plans to connect hundreds of additional megawatts of wind energy to the grid in 2010.

“Iowa has seen significant growth in its renewable-energy resources in the past few years,” said Doug Collins, executive director of ITC Midwest. “In 2005, for instance, Iowa had approximately 830 megawatts of installed wind energy in the entire state. ITC Midwest interconnected almost that much wind generation in each of the past two years.”

ITC Midwest has more than 2,200 MW of wind generation capacity connected to its system in Iowa and Minnesota, but transmission constraints limit the output.

“Although we are continuing to connect wind-energy developments to the grid, the lack of a major regional high-voltage electric transmission backbone prevents that wind energy from moving great distances to the customers who need it,” he said. “ITC is continuing to work with federal and state officials, the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator and other utility partners to study and develop the system needed to move that renewable energy to the load demand centers to the east.”