Bozeman, Mont., Jan. 30, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development in Montana State Director Kathleen Williams announced today that a $3 million investment with a state-based electric cooperative will help expand and modernize the rural electric grid and increase grid security in Eastern Montana.
Goldenwest Electric Cooperative in Wibaux, Mont., received $3,000,000 through the Electric Loan Program to connect 65 consumers and build and improve 34 miles of line. This loan also includes $670,350 in smart grid technologies. Goldenwest serves more than 1,600 consumers with more than 1,700 miles of line through six counties in Montana and North Dakota.
“Upgrading and maintaining our electrical infrastructure in Montana’s rural areas is critically important to ensure these communities remain economically viable, safe places to live and work,” said Williams. "USDA’s electric loan programs are an important resource for building opportunity and prosperity in our rural communities.”
Montana is one of 26 states benefitting from funding through the USDA Electric Loan Program. These loans include $613 million nationally to help rural utilities and cooperatives install and upgrade smart grid technologies. A 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 finance infrastructure improvements in underserved communities.
USDA’s Electric Loan Program also finances wind, solar and natural gas plants, and helps with improvements to produce cleaner energy from coal-fired plants. Local utilities can use loans to invest in infrastructure to assist in delivery of affordable power to millions of residential, commercial, and agricultural consumers.
USDA Rural Development has six offices in Montana – Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell and Missoula. To learn more about investment resources for rural areas in Montana, call (406) 585-2587 or visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, 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.
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