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Biden-Harris Administration Invests $368 Million to Improve and Expand Florida’s Rural Electric Infrastructure

USDA Press
Release Date

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is investing $368 million to help 5 electric cooperatives and utilities expand and modernize the nation’s rural electric grid and increase grid security.

“These critical investments will benefit rural people and businesses in many ways for decades to come,” Vilsack said. “This funding will help rural cooperatives and utilities invest in changes that make our energy more efficient, more reliable, and more affordable.  Investing in infrastructure – roads, bridges, broadband and energy – supports good-paying jobs and keeps the United States poised to lead the global economy.”

The Electric Loan Program provides leadership and capital to maintain, expand, upgrade and modernize America’s vast rural electric infrastructure. “USDA Rural Development is in a unique position to help rural communities build, maintain and improve electric infrastructure,” said USDA Rural Development State Director for Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands Lakeisha Hood. “These investments support the local economy by making rural communities attractive, economically viable and safe places to live and work.”

Nearly half of the awards will help finance infrastructure improvements in underserved communities.

Below is how the funding will be used in Florida:

  • Central Florida Electric Cooperative in receiving a $39,000,000 award to connect 2,181 consumers, and build and improve 171 miles of line. This award includes $3,479,006 in smart grid technologies. Central Florida Electric, headquartered in the Chiefland, Florida, serves an average of 34,982 consumers through 4,371 miles of line in Alachua, Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties. 
  • Talquin Electric Cooperative Inc. is also receiving a $39,000,000 award to connect 1,720 consumers, and build and improve 144 miles of line. This award includes $1,545,764 in smart grid technologies. Talquin Electric, headquartered in Quincy, Florida, serves 55,517 consumers over 4,253 miles of distribution line and 53 miles of transmission line in Gadsden, Leon, Liberty, and Wakulla counties.
  • Peace River Electric Cooperative is receiving a $46,000,000 award to connect 10,541 consumers and build and improve 789 miles of line. This award includes $1,299,000 in smart grid technologies. Peace River Electric, headquartered in Wauchula, Florida, serves an average of 53,698 consumers over 4,151 miles of line in 10 counties in east central Florida.
  • Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative is receiving a $225,000,000 award to connect 18,673 consumers and build and improve 580 miles of line. This award includes various smart grid projects in the amount of $30,547,838, including the installation of 60 miles of fiber cable and communications equipment necessary to create and operate fiber communications to connect utility owned/leased facilities. Withlacoochee River Electric, headquartered in Dade City, Florida, provides service to an average of 229,911 members over 11,505 miles of line in Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties.
  • Suwanee Valley Electric Cooperative is receiving a $19,000,000 award to connect 1,997 consumers and build and improve 338 miles of line. This award includes $6,821,184 in smart grid technologies. Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Live Oak, Florida, serves an average of 27,099 consumers with over 4,675 miles of line in Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette, and Suwannee counties.


USDA is investing in 64 projects through the Electric Loan Program. This funding will benefit nearly 2 million rural people and businesses in 26 states, including Florida.

The loans include $613 million to help rural utilities and cooperatives install and upgrade smart grid technologies. Smart grid can be a catalyst for broadband and other telecommunications services in unserved and underserved rural areas in addition to improving grid security and reliability.

In the coming months, USDA will announce additional energy infrastructure financing. The Biden-Harris Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act provided more than $12 billion to USDA for loans and grants to expand clean energy, transform rural power production, create jobs and spur economic growth. This funding will help make energy cleaner, more reliable and more affordable.

USDA’s Electric Loan Program can help finance wind, solar and natural gas plants, as well as improvements to produce cleaner energy from coal-fired plants. Local utilities also use the loans to invest in infrastructure to deliver affordable power to millions of residential, commercial and agricultural consumers.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.   

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America.

To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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