Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for rural electric utility system improvements that will benefit residential and business customers in 23 states. The projects include more than $14.3 million to implement smart grid technology and nearly $11 million to improve electric service for Native Americans. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service Administrator John Padalino made the announcement on the Secretary’s behalf while addressing a regional meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in San Antonio, Texas.
“These investments will ensure that rural electric infrastructure will continue to meet the electricity needs of rural residents, farmers, and commercial and industrial customers,” Padalino said. “This funding is part of the Obama Administration’s vision for a new rural energy economy. It includes investments in smart grid technologies that modernize our nation’s electric system and improve its operation.”
In South Dakota:
• Moreau-Grand Electric Cooperative, Inc. based in Timber Lake will receive $10 million loan guarantee to build 165 miles of distribution line and 10 miles of transmission line, and make other system improvements, including $1.5 million for smart grid applications. These funds will increase electric system reliability for approximately 717 rural South Dakota customers.
• Oahe Electric Cooperative, Inc. based in Blunt will receive $4.9 million loan guarantee to build 78 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, including $1 million for smart grid applications and $21,575 for service to Native Americans. These funds will increase electric system reliability for approximately 292 rural South Dakota customers.
The $960 million in USDA loan guarantees announced today will help build 3,587 miles of line, benefit approximately 17,000 rural residential and business customers, and make other system improvements. Including today’s announcement, the Obama Administration has invested $152 million in smart grid technologies nationwide during 2013.
View the list of recipients. USDA funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.
USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.