USDA Loans Aid Rural Electric Infrastructure
Twenty-seven states are getting loans through USDA Rural Development's Electric Program, which is the successor to the Rural Electrification Administration.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced his agency is investing $2.5 billion in rural electric infrastructure improvements to help create jobs and support economic development in 27 states. "These significant investments will help develop and maintain modern, reliable electric infrastructure that businesses and rural communities need in a 21st century economy," he said. "The loans I am announcing today will help utilities and cooperatives build new transmission and distribution lines, upgrade networks and facilities, and better manage the power grid."
The USDA funding will support infrastructure improvements in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. They are getting loans through USDA Rural Development's Electric Program, which is the successor to the Rural Electrification Administration.
"We are extremely pleased that USDA is making such a major investment in rural development and infrastructure through new loans to America's electric cooperatives," said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. "USDA is an important partner helping us illuminate rural America and empower the communities we serve. That partnership is critical to co-ops' ability to maintain, expand and improve rural electric infrastructure."
One of the USDA awards is an $18.3 million loan to the Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative (Espanola, N.M.) to build 58 miles, improve 28 miles of line, and make other system improvements, with the coop using $7 million for smart grid improvements. In Oregon, the Harney Electric Cooperative is receiving an $11.7 million loan to build 53 miles of line and make other system improvements, and the Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative in Portola, Calif., will receive a $14.2 million loan to improve 44 miles of transmission and distribution line, build one mile, and make other system improvements.