The funding will help in building and improving more than 11,081km of line to strengthen reliability in rural areas
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it is investing $1.4bn to upgrade the rural electricity infrastructure across 21 states.
USDA is providing the funding through the Electric Loan Program and will help to build and improve 6,886 miles (11,081km) of line to strengthen reliability across rural areas in 21 states.
The funding will support investments in smart grid infrastructure that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
The department has announced investments across states including Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin.
Details of USDA funding
Among the loans offered by the USDA, Georgia’s Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation will receive $229m to connect 25,650 customers and to build and improve 1,275 miles (2,051km) of distribution line to improve system resilience and reliability. Sawnee serves nearly 180,000 customers across seven counties north of Atlanta.
The Haywood Electric Membership Corporation, with nearly 27,000 members across three southern states, will receive $24m loan to connect 1,800 customers, build and an upgrade 58 miles (93.3km) of distribution line and build four miles of transmission line. The loan forwarded to the electricity a utility also includes $750,000 to finance smart grid relationships.
The utility provides electric service to eight counties in Western North Carolina and to portions of two counties in Northeastern Georgia and South Carolina.
Peace River Electric Cooperative in Florida will receive $25.2m loan to connect 3,988 customers; build and upgrade 103 miles (165.7km) of line, build and improve substations, switching stations and metering points and replace 30 transmission poles.
USDA secretary Sonny Perdue said: “Modern and reliable electric infrastructure has been a cornerstone to rural prosperity since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.
“This funding we are providing is critical to rural communities and reflects President Trump’s commitment to increasing prosperity across all of rural America. When rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
In August, the department has announced a funding of $181m to upgrade rural electric systems in 10 states in the country. The funding will be used to improve rural electric infrastructure in Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.