USDA is investing in electricity projects as part of the Electric Loan Program to improve rural electric infrastructure in 17 states in US

31May - USDA

Image: USDA provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. Photo: Courtesy of lacy2017 from Pixabay.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a funding of £682m in loans to upgrade the rural electric systems in 17 states of US.

USDA said that the funding includes £51m finance for the smart grid technologies to improve system operations and monitor grid security.

USDA is investing in 17 projects as part of the Electric Loan Program in states of Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

Acting Assistant for Rural Development Secretary Joel Baxley said: “Investing in our nation’s electric infrastructure powers our economy, creates jobs and helps deliver services such as education, training and health care to build stronger rural communities.

“These loans will help rural electric cooperatives generate and distribute power to keep systems reliable and affordable for those who live and work in rural areas.”

USDA’s funding will help improve 6,020km of line to improve electric reliability and resilience in rural areas.

As part of the funding, the Carroll Electric Cooperative in receives £210m loan for electric grid security and improvement of 1,606km of transmission and distribution line.

In addition, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is receiving a £75m loan to provide renewable energy for commercial and residential consumers in the region and construct a 55.1MW alternating current solar facility.

The solar facility is expected to provide renewable energy, create jobs and promote economic growth to serve 26,000 Native Americans in Arizona.

USDA, in a statement, said: “In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump.

“These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.”