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ITC Begins Open Solicitation for Transmission Rights on Lake Erie Connector Project

ITC to Solicit Interest from Qualified Parties for Capacity on HVDC Merchant Transmission Project

ITC Lake Erie Connector has commenced an open solicitation for interest in transmission capacity on the ITC Lake Erie Connector line. Beginning today and through Aug. 21, ITC intends to solicit expressions of interest from qualified parties for firm transmission rights at negotiated rates.

The ITC Lake Erie Connector is a proposed 1000 MW, bi-directional, High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) merchant transmission line that will provide the first direct link between the markets of the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM). The ITC Lake Erie Connector will enable transmission customers to more efficiently access energy, capacity and renewable energy credit opportunities in both markets.

“We see sustainable long-term economics in this project, partly driven by potential environmental regulations and U.S. state renewable energy mandates,” said Terry Harvill, Ph.D., ITC Holdings Corp. vice president of International and Merchant Development. “This is an opportunity for generators and load-serving entities to take advantage of a direct link between the two markets, avoiding some of the additional charges they incur from moving power through another system. At the same time, the power will get to market when they need it there and at a cost they can predict and rely on. Ultimately, this project can lower the cost of delivered energy for end-use customers while at the same time increasing the reliability of both markets,” said Dr. Harvill.

Open Solicitation Process

Interested parties can access an overview of the ITC Lake Erie Connector and a confidentiality agreement (CA) on ITC’s Open Solicitation website www.lakeerieconnector-os.com.  Execution of the CA will allow interested parties to access additional information regarding the ITC Lake Erie Connector and the open solicitation process. ITC has retained The Brattle Group to serve as an Independent Solicitation Manager to oversee the open solicitation process.

Parties interested in reserving capacity on the ITC Lake Erie Connector must complete and submit a non-binding “Expression of Interest” form no later than Aug. 21, 2015.  ITC, with assistance from the Independent Solicitation Manager, will rank prospective customers based on the following five criteria: (1) desired capacity amount; (2) desired term length; (3) creditworthiness; (4) financial strength; and (5) desired start of transmission service. ITC will consider negotiating only with those parties that are interested in purchasing at least 50 MW of transmission capacity on the ITC Lake Erie Connector. Once prospective customers have been identified, ITC will engage in negotiations with these parties, with the objective of executing one or more transmission service agreements based on mutually agreed-upon rates, terms, and conditions. ITC reserves the right to offer more favorable rates, terms, and conditions to certain customers, such as first-movers or those willing to assume greater risk. Any revisions to the open solicitation schedule or changes to project specifications will be posted on the website.

Project Specifications and Permits

The 1000 MW ITC Lake Erie Connector is a +/- 320 kV HVDC bi-directional transmission line, approximately 73 miles in length, that will interconnect with converter stations located in Erie, Pennsylvania and Nanticoke, Ontario. A 345 kV Alternating Current (AC) underground transmission line will connect the Erie converter station to the existing Penelec Erie West Substation, while a 500 kV AC line will interconnect the Nanticoke converter station to Hydro One Networks Inc.’s Nanticoke Transformer Station. The majority of the transmission line either will be buried beneath Lake Erie or underground using existing roadway rights-of-way.

ITC filed major permit applications with Canada’s National Energy Board on May 22 and with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on May 29 – the latter to obtain a Presidential Permit necessary for international border-crossing projects.  ITC has completed the necessary system impact studies in IESO and PJM, has signed services agreements with the manufacturers of the converter stations and the submarine cable, and secured nearly all land necessary for the terrestrial cable route, converter stations and laydown areas.  ITC anticipates receiving major state, federal and provincial permits for the ITC Lake Erie Connector by Q2 2017, commencement of construction in 2017, and commercial operation in 2019.

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