U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.4 billion in projects in 21 states to build and improve rural electric infrastructure.
“Modern and reliable electric infrastructure has been a cornerstone to rural prosperity since the Rural Electrification Act of 1936,” Secretary Perdue said. “This funding we are providing is critical to rural communities and reflects President Trump’s commitment to increasing prosperity across all of rural America. When rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program. It will help build and improve 6,886 miles of line to strengthen reliability in rural areas. The loans include $255.8 million for investments in smart grid infrastructure that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
In Kansas, the following electric cooperatives received financing:
- Ark Valley Electric Cooperative Association
$5.74 million loan
This Rural Development investment will be used to build and improve 29 miles of line to serve 228 consumers. The loan includes nearly $42,000 for smart grid applications to increase system resilience and reliability. Headquartered in South Hutchinson, Kan., and energized in 1939, Ark Valley is a rural distribution cooperative serving nearly 5,200 consumers through 2,101 miles of line.
- Sedgwick County Electric Cooperative Association
$8.116 million loan
This Rural Development investment will be used to build and improve 67 miles of line and invest nearly $420,000 in smart grid technologies to improve system efficiencies and security. Sedgwick County Electric Cooperative Association Inc. serves more than 6,800 consumers over 1,175 miles of line in Harvey, Kingman, Reno, Sedgwick and Sumner counties, bordering the city of Wichita.
- Western Cooperative Electric Association Inc.
$19 million loan
This Rural Development investment will be used to connect 528 customers and build and improve 135 miles of line to enhance system resilience and reliability.
USDA announced investments today in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
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, visit www.rd.usda.gov/ks