WASHINGTON — The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.6 billion to build or improve rural electric infrastructure in 21 states (PDF, 165 KB).
“Reliable and modern 21st century infrastructure, including electric infrastructure and smart grid technologies, is a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America,” Secretary Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures.”
USDA is providing loans and loan guarantees to rural electric cooperatives and utilities through the Electric Loan Program. The recipients will use the funds to build and improve 9,138 miles of electric transmission and distribution line, benefiting 1 million rural residents and businesses. The loans include nearly $386 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
The investments announced today are being made in 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.
For example, South Carolina’s Central Electric Power Cooperative is receiving a $70 million loan to build and improve 35 miles of transmission line. The loan includes $758,000 in smart grid technologies. Central Electric provides wholesale electric service to South Carolina’s 20 retail electric cooperatives, which serve 46 counties and more than 800,000 meters.
The Highline Electric Association, based in Holyoke, Colo., is receiving a $39 million loan to connect 402 consumers, and build and improve 262 miles of line. The loan includes $11.4 million in smart grid technologies. Highline serves more than 10,000 customers through 5,168 miles of line in seven counties in northeastern Colorado and four counties in southwestern Nebraska.
New Mexico’s Socorro Electric Cooperative Inc. is receiving a $28 million loan to connect 485 consumers, build and improve 45 miles of distribution line, and build and improve 25 miles of line for the Magdalena Transmission Line Rebuild project. The loan includes $2.4 million in smart grid technologies. Socorro serves nearly 13,000 consumers through 3,261 miles of distribution line and 42 miles of transmission line in Catron, Cibola, Sierra, Valencia and Socorro counties.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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