Trump Administration Invests $371 Million to Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure in 11 States
Investments will benefit the Otero County Electric Cooperataive and the Central Valley Electric Cooperative
WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2020 – The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $371 million to build and improve critical electric infrastructure that will benefit more than 222,000 rural residents and commercial customers in 11 states.
“These investments will improve electric service by connecting more consumers, building and improving lines, and modernizing power grids in rural communities,” USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Bette Brand said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA continues to be a strong partner to rural communities, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Blake Curtis, USDA Rural Development state director added, “The expansion of the two projects in New Mexico shows our agency’s commitment to improve the infrastructure needs in the rural areas of our state.” He added, “Not only will these projects provide better electric service but at the same time they will contribute to the economic wellbeing of our state for many years to come.”
USDA is investing in 10 projects through the Electric Loan Program. This funding will help build and improve 3,741 miles of line to improve electric reliability and resilience in rural areas in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The loans include $80 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage. The two projects in New Mexico include:
- A $36.8 million dollar loan to the Otero County Electric Cooperative to connect 1,218 consumers and build and improve 273 miles of electric line. This loan also includes $2,410,000 in smart grid technologies that will be built into the system. Otero County is headquartered in Cloudcroft, N.M., and serves on average 19,625 members through 2,792 miles of line through Chaves, Lincoln, Otero and Socorro counties surrounding the City of Cloudcroft, N.M.
- The Central Valley Electric Cooperative (CVEC) has qualified for a $44.2 million dollar loan which will be used to pay for the connection of 2,467 consumers and build and improve 443 miles of electric line. This loan also includes $2,529,550 in smart grid technologies which will upgrade the delivery of electricity to its consumers. CVEC is headquartered in Artesia, N.M., and serves 4,269 members through 4,207 miles of line through Chaves, Eddy, Lea and Otero counties in south central New Mexico.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs 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 areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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