BISMARCK, N.D., Jan. 30, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Erin Oban today announced the Department is investing over $50 million to help electric cooperatives expand and modernize the nation’s rural electric grid and increase grid security across North Dakota, Montana, and South Dakota.
“Serving our most rural and remote communities with the most basic yet essential services and utilities comes with challenges, risks, and costs,” said Oban. “USDA Rural Development is in a unique position and has a long history of helping North Dakota overcome those barriers. With financing available through USDA Rural Development, North Dakota’s rural electric cooperatives can build, upgrade, and improve miles of electric transmission lines and install smart grid technologies to serve their members. The significant federal investments announced today in our co-ops and communities will ensure that more than 1,500 of our neighbors in 14 North Dakota counties can continue to access the affordable, reliable electricity that heats our homes on bitter cold days like this.”
USDA is investing in 64 projects through the Electric Loan Program. This funding will benefit nearly 2 million rural people and businesses in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
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 North Dakota:
- Goldenwest Electric Cooperative will use a $3,000,000 loan to connect 65 consumers and build and improve 34 miles of line. This loan includes $670,350 in smart grid technologies. Goldenwest Electric is headquartered in the city of Wibaux, Montana serving 1,610 consumers over 1,171 miles of line through a total of six counties: three counties in North Dakota and three counties in Montana.
- McLean Electric Cooperative Inc. will use a $15,000,000 loan to connect 425 consumers and build and improve 196 miles of line. This loan includes $2,505,900 in smart grid technologies. McLean Electric is headquartered in Garrison, North Dakota, and serving on average 4,151 consumers through 1,806 miles of line through five counties in central North Dakota.
- Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative will use a $33,000,000 loan to connect 1,041 consumers and build and improve 202 miles of line. This loan includes $722,000 in smart grid technologies. Mor-Gran-Sou Electric is headquartered in Flasher, North Dakota and serves 10,025 consumers over 3,714 miles of line in six counties in North Dakota and one county in South Dakota.
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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