Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today that USDA is investing $2.5 billion in rural electric infrastructure improvements to help create jobs and support economic development in 27 states.
“These significant investments will help develop and maintain modern, reliable electric infrastructure that businesses and rural communities need in a 21st Century economy,” Perdue said. “The loans I am announcing today will help utilities and cooperatives build new transmission and distribution lines, upgrade networks and facilities, and better manage the power grid.”
The funding will support infrastructure improvements in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The loans are being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Electric Program, which is the successor to the Rural Electrification Administration.
In Kentucky, Farmers RECC will receive a loan of over $19 million to build 140 miles, improve 83 miles of line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $373,500 for smart grid projects.
Pennyrile RECC will receive a $35.4 million loan to build 139 miles, improve 100 miles of line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $545,400 for smart grid projects.
Cumberland EMC will receive a $30 million to build 119 miles of line and make other system improvements.
Smart grid includes technological enhancements such as metering, substation automation, computer applications, two-way communications and geospatial information systems to help utilities increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power systems. Today’s loans include $127 million for smart grid projects.
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; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.