USDA Tuesday announced that rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 12 states will receive loan guarantees to improve generation and transmission facilities and implement smart grid technologies.
USDA Rural Utilities Acting Administrator John Padalino made the announcement during the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in New Orleans.
"In his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama said that in America we have 'an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair' and these investments help to address our country's infrastructure challenges," Padalino said. "Upgrading rural infrastructure sets the stage for economic development, because access to reliable, affordable electricity is essential to rural job creation."
USDA offers up $8 million for smart grid technology
Today's announcement includes support for more than $8 million in smart grid technologies, which help utilities make efficiency improvements to the electric grid and help consumers lower their electric bills by reducing energy use in homes and businesses.
One of the utilities selected for funding is North Dakota's Central Power Electric Cooperative. It plans to use a $33.7 million loan guarantee to build 141 miles of transmission line and make other system improvements. Kansas' Flint Hills Rural Electric Cooperative Association will receive an $11 million loan guarantee to build 108 miles of distribution line. The loan includes $220,000 in smart grid projects.
In Oklahoma, the Cotton Electric Cooperative won a $24.8 million loan guarantee to build 229 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $1.3 million in smart grid projects.
Utilities in 12 states selected for funding
The following is a complete list of rural utilities that will receive USDA funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.
Alabama: Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $13,900,000. Funds will be used to build 135 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $100,452 in smart grid projects; Pea River Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $21,500,000. Funds will be used to build 137 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.
Alaska: Kotzebue Electric Association, Inc. – $2,900,000. Funds will be used to build 10 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.