U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that USDA is investing $251 million to upgrade rural electric systems in 13 states. The funding includes $38.2 million to finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.
“Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA continues to be a strong, effective partner to rural communities in building, expanding and modernizing electric infrastructure,” LaVoy said. “These investments in essential electric grid upgrades help to improve the quality of life in rural communities, create rural jobs and strengthen America’s economy.”
USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program for 12 projects that will serve rural areas in and help build and improve 1,971 miles of line to improve electric reliability in rural areas. Among the loans announced today, High West Energy Inc. in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming will use a $39,805,000 loan to connect 748 customers, and build and improve 343 miles of line. The loan includes $3.3 million for smart grid technologies. High West serves more than 10,000 customers over 3,714 miles in three counties in Colorado, four counties in Nebraska and two counties in Wyoming. “The funding provided today will help ensure that residents and businesses in Larimer, Logan, and Weld Counties in Colorado have access to an affordable and reliable source of energy to allow them to do their daily activities and work,” said USDA Rural Development Colorado State Director Sallie Clark.
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; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information in Colorado, visit www.rd.usda.gov/co.