USDA is providing $858 million in loans to upgrade rural electric systems in 17 states. The funding includes $64 million to finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.
“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,” said Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley. “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 is investing in 17 projects through the Electric Loan Program in Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia. This funding will help build and improve 3,741 miles of line to improve electric reliability and resilience in rural areas.
The Carroll Electric Cooperative in Berryville, Ark., is receiving a $263 million loan to improve electric grid reliability and security for 998 miles of transmission and distribution line. Carroll will use $8.5 million of the loan to invest in smart grid technologies to improve system communications for 13,260 new customers.
In Arizona, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is receiving a $94 million loan to provide renewable energy to commercial and residential consumers in the Navajo Nation near Kayenta, Ariz. It will construct a 55.1 megawatt alternating current solar facility that will provide renewable energy, create jobs and promote economic growth to serve 26,000 Native Americans in Arizona.
In Missouri, Central Electric Power Cooperative will receive $72 million to upgrade electric transmission facilities. The improvements will supply peak loads and conform to safety requirements. It is a member-owned transmission electric cooperative that supplies power to eight distribution cooperatives. It serves about 187,000 residential and business consumers across 22,000 square miles in 28 counties in central Missouri.