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USDA Invests $104 Million to Improve and Expand Rural Electric Infrastructure

Michael Frye
Release Date

HURON, S.D., Feb. 3, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development South Dakota State Director Nikki Gronli today announced that the Department is investing more than $104 million to help five electric cooperatives and utilities expand and modernize South Dakota’s rural electric grid and increase grid security.

“This funding will help make electric infrastructure more reliable and affordable for rural South Dakotans,” Gronli said. “The addition of smart grid technology will help restore power more quickly after power outages, improve security, and increase integration with renewable energy systems.”

These funds will help people living in South Dakota. Some examples include:

  • West River Electric Cooperative is receiving $46,510,000 to connect 4,319 consumers and build and improve 362 miles of line. This loan includes $1,527,000 in smart grid technologies. West River Electric is headquartered in Wall, South Dakota, and serves the needs of more than 18,482 members over 2,657 miles in Haakon, Jackson, Meade, Pennington, Oglala Lakota and Ziebach counties.
  • Butte Electric Cooperative is receiving $9,198,000 to connect 738 consumers and build and improve 71 miles of line. This loan includes $864,220 in smart grid technologies. Butte Electric is headquartered in Newell, South Dakota and provides service to 6,524 consumers over 1,385 miles of line in three counties in the western portion of South Dakota.
  • Kingsbury Electric Cooperative is receiving $2,122,000 to connect 120 consumers and build and improve 14 miles of line. This loan includes $74,680 in smart grid technologies. Kingsbury Electric is headquartered in De Smet, South Dakota and provides service to 1,092 consumers over 672 miles of line in five counties in east central South Dakota.

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.

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.

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

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.

Rural Development provides loans and grants to 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.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.