The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office recently announced that USDA is investing $5 million in electric infrastructure in a project in western Virginia that will also serve Monroe County, West Virginia.
Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative located in western Virginia is receiving a $5 million loan through the Electric Loan Program to build and improve 37 miles of line and invest $2.2 million in smart grid technologies.
Speaking of the project, USDA Rural Development West Virginia State Director Kris Warner said, “Access to reliable and affordable electricity is essential to the economic vitality and quality of life for rural West Virginians.” Mr. Warner went on to say, “This loan to the Craig Botetourt Electric Cooperative will help residents in six Virginia counties as well as Monroe County, West Virginia access upgraded and modernized rural electric infrastructure.”
The cooperative serves more than 7,100 residential and commercial customers with over 1,387 miles of line in Roanoke, Montgomery, Giles, Botetourt, Alleghany, and Craig counties in Virginia; and Monroe County in West Virginia. Approximately 50 percent of its mountainous service territory is National Forest Service land.
This announcement comes as a part of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s national announcement today highlighting that USDA is providing $858 million in loans to upgrade rural electric systems in 17 states. The funding includes more than $60 million to finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.
“Investing in our nation’s electric infrastructure powers our economy, creates jobs and helps deliver services such as education, training and health care to build stronger rural communities,” Perdue said. “These loans will help rural electric cooperatives generate and distribute power to keep systems reliable and affordable for those who live and work in rural areas.”
USDA is investing in 16 projects through the Electric Loan Program. This funding will help build or improve 2,941 miles of line to improve electric reliability and resilience in rural areas.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
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.