USDA Invests $518M to Improve Rural Electric Systems
The US Department of Agriculture is investing more than $518 million in rural electric cooperatives to improve the delivery of electric power to communities in 15 states. This funding is part of nearly $50 billion the USDA has invested in infrastructure improvements since 2009.
More than $23 million of the funding is targeted for smart grid improvements, such as automated meter reading and load management automation.
These loan guarantees are provided through USDA’s Rural Utilities Service and will help to build or improve more than 5,600 miles of electric line in rural areas. For example, in New Mexico, a $14.1 million loan will fund a 1 MW photovoltaic facility, 74 miles of line and other system improvements. The loan includes $518,400 for smart grid projects and $3.4 million for the renewable project. The Carroll Electric Membership Corporation in Carrollton, Ga., will receive $20.6 million to build or upgrade 441 miles of line and devote $93,000 to smart grid technology.
Four electric cooperatives in North Carolina will receive a total of $112 million in funding. Two cooperatives in North Dakota will receive just over $86 million in funding. Other states to receive funding include Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Nebraska and Texas.
Earlier this year, the USDA loaned $263.3 million to help modernize and improve the reliability of rural electric systems in eight states. It created the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program in 2013.
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