USDA is investing $1.4 billion in projects in 21 states to build and improve rural electric infrastructure.
“Modern and reliable electric infrastructure has been a cornerstone to rural prosperity since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
Investments will be made in 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. Here’s a sampling of some of the loans:
Georgia’s Sawnee Electric Membership Corporation is receiving a $229 million loan to connect 25,650 customers, and build and improve 1,275 miles of distribution line to enhance system resilience and reliability. Sawnee serves nearly 180,000 customers in seven counties north of Atlanta.
Great Lakes Energy Cooperative is getting $188 million loan to build and improve 388 miles of distribution line and connect 4,166 customers. These new miles of line include the installation of 1,850 miles of fiber and 6,200 connections. The loan includes funds to install fiber-based smart grid communications to increase system efficiencies. Great Lakes provides electric service to about 125,447 customers over more than 14,451 miles of line in 26 counties in the western portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
Big Rivers Electric Corporation will receive a $160 million loan to build and improve 34 miles of transmission line. These improvements will enhance transmission capacity and ensure greater reliability of service to rural communities. Big Rivers serves more than 117,000 customers in 22 counties in Kentucky.
East Kentucky Power Cooperative will receive a $152 million loan to make transmission system improvements and build 34 miles of transmission line. Eastern Kentucky Power generates wholesale electricity and provides bulk transmission services to 16 distribution member cooperatives. The cooperatives serve about 541 member-owners in the eastern two-thirds of Kentucky. Its members are located in 89 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, serving more than 1 million people.
USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program. It will help build and improve 6,886 miles of line to strengthen reliability in rural areas. The loans include $255.8 million for investments in smart grid infrastructure that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
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