“Reliable and affordable electricity is undeniably a necessity in today’s world,” said Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett. That’s why the USDA is investing $398.5 million to improve rural electric service in 13 states.
The USDA is making the investments through the Electric Infrastructure Loan Program. The projects will help improve the quality of life in rural communities in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
Below are a few examples of the projects USDA is funding:
- In Virginia, Southside Electric Cooperative will use a $47.7 million loan to add 2,578 customers, build 136 miles of line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $269,536 for smart grid projects. Southside, headquartered in Crewe, has approximately 8,250 miles of power line that provides service to 56,000 customers in 18 counties and one independent city in south central Virginia. Southside serves predominantly residential loads and a small percentage of large commercial loads, including a correctional facility, a meat processing plant, pipeline companies, a bearing manufacturing facility and several facilities engaged in the production of forestry products.
- In Indiana, Marshall County REMC is receiving a $9.5 million loan to build 11 miles of line, improve 59 miles and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $5,130,130 for smart grid projects. Marshall County provides electric service to 7,200 customers over 1,070 miles of line in Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall, St. Joseph, and Starke counties in northern Indiana. The economy of the service territory has historically relied on agriculture and agriculture-related industries.
- In Colorado, San Miguel Power Association will use an $11 million loan to build 205 miles of line, improve 47 miles and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $571,654 for smart grid projects. San Miguel is headquartered in Nucla. It serves 13,473 customers through 3,800 miles of line in Dolores, Hinsdale, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan, and Miguel counties.
The investments USDA is making include nearly $43.7 million for smart grid technology to increase system efficiencies. Smart grid includes computer applications, two-way machine-to-machine communications, geospatial information systems and other tools to increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power systems.