Funding Includes $9.8 Million to Improve Grid Security and Reliability
ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 2, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Colleen Landkamer today announced that USDA is investing more than $106 million to help local electric cooperatives expand and modernize the state’s rural electric grid and increase grid security.
“Nearly 4,500 rural residents right here in Minnesota will be connected with affordable, reliable and efficient electric infrastructure,” Landkamer said. “When we invest in modern infrastructure, we invest in the local economy by making them viable and safe places to live and work – creating new opportunities for years to come.”
Funding is being provided through USDA’s Electric Loan Program.
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.
The loans include nearly $10 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.
- McLeod Cooperative Power Association is receiving a $13 million loan to connect 288 consumers and build or improve 74 miles of line. The loan includes $2 million for smart grid technologies. McLeod Cooperative, headquartered in Manassas, serves 6,975 consumers over 1,921 miles of line in seven counties.
- Red Lake Electric Cooperative is receiving a $9.1 million loan to connect 299 consumers and build or improve 54 miles of line. The loan includes $104,000 for smart grid technologies. Red Lake Electric serves 5,704 consumers through 2,642 miles of line in six counties in northern Minnesota.
- PKM Electric Cooperative is receiving a $13.4 million loan to connect 342 consumers and build or improve 119 miles of line. The loan includes $1.1 million for smart grid technologies. PKM Electric serves 3,955 consumers over 2,298 miles in three counties of central Minnesota.
- South Central Electric Association is receiving a $13 million loan to connect 188 consumers and build or improve 76 miles of line. The loan includes $1.7 million for smart grid technologies. South Central Electric serves 5,928 consumers over 2,467 miles in eight counties.
- Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative is receiving a $35 million 1,846 consumers and build or improve 1,631 miles of line. The loan includes $3.6 million for smart grid technologies. Minnesota Valley is headquartered in Jordan, Minnesota and serves 44,411 consumers across Blue Earth, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Le Sueur, Rice, Scott, Sibley, and Waseca counties.
- Beltrami Electric Cooperative is receiving a $22.7 million loan to connect 1,480 consumers and build or improve 225 miles of line. The loan includes $1.3 million for smart grid technologies. Beltrami Electric is headquartered in Bemidji, Minnesota. It serves 21,772 consumers in portions of Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca and Koochiching counties with 3,500 miles of distribution line covering approximately 3,000 square miles.
Today’s investments are part of a nationwide investment of $2.7 billion, recently announced by U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, to help 64 electric cooperatives and utilities expand and modernize electric service for nearly 2 million rural people and businesses in 26 states. 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 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/mn.
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