MJ Electric of Iron Mountain Michigan has been selected by ITC Holdings to construct Phase One of the “Thumb Loop”. MJ Electric will construct approximately 62 miles of the Loop starting from the site of the new Bauer substation in Tuscola Township, southwestern Tuscola County, to the new Rapson substation in Huron County, east of Bad Axe in Sigel Township.
Loop to Support 1000’s of Wind Turbines
The project will be the base of transmission system designed to meet the identified maximum wind energy potential of the Thumb region. When complete The Thumb Loop will consist of four substations and 140 miles of transmission lines though Michigan’s Tuscola, Huron, Sanilac, and St. Clair counties. The Thumb Loop is the result of Michigan’s Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act of 2008. The act requires 10 percent of the energy in the state come from renewable fuels by 2015. When completed, the loop will be the “energy superhighway” for wind farm development in the Thumb.
The Thumb Loop is capable of supporting more than 2,800 wind turbines and 5,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity. The project will start this spring and conclude in 2013. The cost been estimated at about $510 million. The Huron Daily Tribune noted that up to 50 workers will be active during the peak of the project. Local businesses may also be required for concrete suppliers and excavation.
Landowners with property that may be crossed by the Thumb Loop have expressed concern about how the lines will impact farms throughout the region. One particular issue is concern over how construction of the line would affect central pivot farming, which has increased in use over the past 25 years within Michigan’s agriculturally rich thumb area. ITC has worked with landowners along the route to negotiate easement agreements and establish access points for equipment and materials along the 200-foot-wide transmission corridor.