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USDA Investment to Northern Electric Cooperative, Inc. Leads to Increased System Efficiencies and Funds Smart Grid Improvements

Tammi Schone
Release Date

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for South Dakota Julie Gross today announced a $24.8 million investment for Northern Electric Cooperative, Inc. to upgrade the rural electric system and reduce energy costs.

“This investment will help strengthen the rural economy and improve the quality of life for rural South Dakotans in Northern Electric Cooperative, Inc.’s service area,” Gross said.  “Through this partnership, the cooperative can continue to deliver reliable, affordable power to its customers.”

USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program for 10 projects in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. These investments will help build or improve 2,635 miles of line.

South Dakota’s Northern Electric Cooperative will use the federal funds to build or improve 360 miles of line. The loan includes $351,000 in smart grid technologies. Smart grid includes computer applications, two-way machine-to-machine communications, geospatial information systems and other tools to increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power systems. Northern Electric serves more than 6,300 consumers over 2,600 miles of line in 10 counties in northeastern South Dakota and one county in southern North Dakota.  

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.