The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an investment of $1.6bn in electric infrastructure in 21 states in the US.

Through the Electric Loan Program, USDA is offering loans and loan guarantees to rural electric cooperatives as well as the utilities .

The investment will be used to build and improve 14,706km of electric transmission and distribution line, which are expected to benefit one million rural residents and businesses.

The funding from USDA will also include approximately $386m investment in smart grid technology that uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.

It will be offered to Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

South Carolina’s Central Electric Power Cooperative will receive $70m funding from USDA

Secretary Perdue said: “Reliable and modern 21st century infrastructure, including electric infrastructure and smart grid technologies, is a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America.

“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures.”

USDA said that it is providing $70m funding to South Carolina’s Central Electric Power Cooperative to build and improve 56.3km of transmission line. Central Electric provides wholesale electric service to South Carolina’s 20 retail electric cooperatives that serves 46 counties and over 800,000 meters.

The financing will also include $758,000 in smart grid technologies.

Colorado-based Highline Electric Association will receive $39m funding to connect 402 consumers, and build and improve 421.6km of transmission line. It will also include $11.4m in smart grid technologies.

Furthermore, USDA is offering $28m loan to Socorro Electric to connect 485 consumers, build and improve 72.4km of distribution line, and build and improve 40.2km of line for the Magdalena Transmission Line Rebuild project.

In March this year, USDA announced to offer $900m funding to build, preserve or improve rural electric infrastructure across 16 states in the US.