by Terry S. Harvill, ITC Holdings Corp.
A new year is a time for personal resolutions: Americans often pledge to hit the gym, eat healthier and save more money.
It is not just individuals and families who look to turn over a new leaf. The nation as a whole is facing changes as part of pressing infrastructure issues that will affect our economy and competitiveness on the global stage.
At ITC, we have long been resolved to address challenges facing the electric grid, which will only become more acute as we proceed through 2015 and beyond.
This year, the energy landscape will continue to evolve as coal plants are retired, new natural gas plants are brought online, and renewable energy continues to make inroads into our electricity system. Meanwhile, new regulatory requirements and a shifting policy conversation will shape further how power is generated and delivered.
There is one constant, though, no matter what changes the new year brings: Building new, modern grid infrastructure is essential to addressing reliability concerns, enabling competitive markets and keeping the lights on for millions of Americans.
How can we resolve to ensure more reliable and resilient power for homes, our businesses and our communities throughout the years to come? The good news is that we aren’t starting from scratch. The grid saw improvements and new investments in 2014, but with that came a few growing pains as the power players worked to meet the demands set by Order 1000 and reacted to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. And more work will continue as this year unfolds.
With increased electricity consumption during another cold January, Americans are reminded of the energy and infrastructure issues we face. The time is right to underscore the importance of upgrading our grid with the capabilities needed to power our modern world. We must educate customers about the vital role the power grid plays in enabling new and existing energy sources and technologies.
Whatever 2015 brings, ITC’s unique position within this industry–resulting from our record of success and strategic footprints coupled with best-in-class operations and an active development business–will continue to serve our customers well throughout the year. We will continue to work on improving the transmission system, which provides optionality and resiliency to address a changing generation mix and policies.
This year, we will demonstrate our commitment to innovating the traditional transmission model with projects such as the Lake Erie Connector. The project is ITC’s first contracted high-voltage DC transmission line and the first direct connection between the Ontario electricity market and the PJM regional transmission network serving the eastern United States, allowing for the bidirectional flow of power and the associated benefits between the two countries.
In 2015, we resolve to do our part in maintaining a reliable and secure grid that facilitates the delivery of high-quality power for all of our customers and building the modern grid that will serve America for years.
Terry S. Harvill is vice president of International and Merchant Development at ITC Holdings Corp.