U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is investing $2.7 billion to help 64 electric cooperatives and utilities expand and modernize the nation’s rural electric grid and increase grid security.
“These critical investments will benefit rural people and businesses in many ways for decades to come,” Vilsack said. “This funding will help rural cooperatives and utilities invest in changes that make our energy more efficient, more reliable, and more affordable. Investing in infrastructure – roads, bridges, broadband and energy – supports good-paying jobs and keeps the United States poised to lead the global economy.”
Michigan received a total of $273,696,000 in loans that will connect 5,765 rural customers.
“This represents a significant investment in Michigan’s rural energy infrastructure,” said USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan Brandon Fewins. “We are fundamentally transforming access to electricity in a large stretch of our state.”
The Alger-Delta Cooperative Electric Association will use a $10,900,000 loan to connect 735 customers and build and improve 84.13 miles of line. This loan includes $98,000 in smart grid technologies. Alger-Delta is headquartered in Gladstone and serves 10,289 consumers over 1,300 miles of line in six counties in Michigan's central Upper Peninsula.
Great Lakes Energy Cooperative will use a $262,796,000 loan to connect 5,030 customers and build and improve 438 miles of line. This loan includes various smart grid projects in the amount of $182,833,317 including the installation of 2,420 miles of fiber backbone communication network. Great Lakes Energy is headquartered in Boyne and provides service to an average of 128,232 consumers over 4,649 miles of line through 26 counties in western and northern Michigan.
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.
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 touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate, smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.