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February 19, 2013

USDA Allots $330 Million for Rural Electric Renovations in 12 States



U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is determined to “get outta town,” when it comes to providing access to electricity to U.S. citizens.

On February 18, the USDA announced that rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 12 states will receive more than $330 million in loan guarantees to help electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America's electric infrastructure. Fully $8 million of that amount will be used to implement smart grid technologies. USDA also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects.

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The announcement was made on the Secretary's behalf by USDA Rural Utilities Acting Administrator John Padalino during the annual meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in New Orleans.  Based in Arlington, Virginia, the NRECA is the national service organization for more than 900 not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives and public power districts providing retail electric service to more than 42 million consumers in 47 U.S. states. 

Padalino commented, "In his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama said that, in America, we have ‘an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair’ and these investments help to address our country's infrastructure challenges. Upgrading rural infrastructure sets the stage for economic development, because access to reliable, affordable electricity is essential “

The following is a complete list of rural utilities that will receive USDA funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

Alabama

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $13.9 million to build 135 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $100,452 in smart grid projects.

Pea River Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $21.5 million construct 137 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

Alaska

Kotzebue Electric Association, Inc. – $2.9 million to build 10 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

Colorado

Southeast Colorado Power Association – $8. 02 million to deploy 133 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $600,000 in smart grid projects.

Florida

Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $80 million to build 104 miles of distribution line, four miles of transmission line, and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $1.3 million for smart grid projects.

Georgia

Sumter Electric Membership Corporation – $12.5 million to install 437 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $500,000 for smart grid projects.

Kansas

Flint Hills Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Inc. – $11 million to construct 108 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $22,000 in smart grid projects.

The Brown Atchison Electric Cooperative Association – $5.1 million to build 53 miles of distribution line and five miles of transmission line, and make other system improvements.

Kentucky

Farmers Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation – $17.6 million to deploy 327 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $412,541 for smart grid projects.

Minnesota

Runestone Electric Association – $22 million to build 82 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $379,100 for smart grid projects.

North Dakota

Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $7.7 million to install 106 miles of distribution line, 20 miles of transmission line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $549,994 in smart grid projects.

Central Power Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $33.7 million to build 141 miles of transmission line and make other system improvements.

Oklahoma

Cotton Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $24.9 million to build 229 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $1,300,000 in smart grid projects.

South Dakota

West Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $10,125,000. Funds will be used to construct 46 miles of distribution line, 14 miles of transmission line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $314,487 in smart grid projects.

South Dakota and North Dakota

Northern Electric Cooperative – $20.4 million to build 303 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $902,512 in smart grid projects.

Texas

Bowie-Cass Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $38.5 million to install 562 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $672,875 for smart grid projects.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas.




Edited by Brooke Neuman
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