USDA funds rural electric infrastructure
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that rural electric cooperative utilities in 10 states will receive loans to install smart grid technologies and make improvements to generation and transmission facilities.
"A 21st century electric grid is essential to America's ability to create jobs in the clean energy economy of the future." Vilsack said. "These investments enable consumers and businesses to better manage their use of electricity and help maintain affordable rates. Building transmission infrastructure that employs smart grid technologies will make it easier to add renewable sources of electricity into the grid and also improve reliability."
With this funding, USDA Rural Development moves closer to reaching Vilsack's goal to fund more than $250 million for Smart Grid technologies. The announcement includes support for nearly $20 million in Smart Grid technologies.
The $334 million in loans are provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service. The funding helps electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America's electric infrastructure. USDA Rural Development also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects.
The following is a list of rural utilities in the High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal coverage area that will receive USDA funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.
Minnesota--Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative, $18,450,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 101 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan also includes $5.9 million in smart grid projects.
Missouri--Missouri Rural Electric Cooperative, $3,000,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 44 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.
Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska--Atchison-Holt Electric Cooperative, $5,000,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 62 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.
Nebraska--Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Association, $7,839,000. Funding will be used to serve 113 consumers, build and improve 49 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $1,823,200 in smart grid projects.
Oklahoma--Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc., $4,787,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 26 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.