The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $345.5m in 20 infrastructure projects to enhance rural electric service in 14 states.
This investment from USDA is being made available through the Electric Infrastructure Loan Program, which will help in finance generation, transmission and distribution projects, system improvements and energy conservation projects in communities with 10,000 or less residents.
USDA is investing in rural communities across California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The loans will include $7.9m for smart grid technology and comprises of computer applications, two-way communications, geospatial information systems and other tools to increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power systems.
The San Isabel Electric Association in Colorado is receiving $15.8m loan to build 101.3km of line and improve 230km to serve customers in Huerfano, Las Animas, Pueblo, Custer, Otero and Costilla counties. The loan also includes $752,021 for smart grid projects.
Goodhue County Electric Cooperative Association in Minnesota will receive $7.75m loan to build 45km of line and improve 115.8km. For smart grid projects, $315,000 will be allocated.
Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation in Georgia will receive $61.2m loan to construct 486km of line and improve 117km. The loan includes $64,000 for smart grid projects.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said: “Delivering reliable and affordable electricity to power rural America will help lay the groundwork for increased rural prosperity and economic opportunity.
“USDA is partnering with rural electric utilities and cooperatives so they can continue to invest in infrastructure improvements to provide electric power to those who live and work in rural areas.”
In June, the USDA stated that it will invest $309m in 16 projects across 12 states to improve rural electric infrastructure.
The department stated that the investment will help to build or improve 1,660 miles of electric line serving rural homes, farms and businesses. This funding was allocated for Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Washington.