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USDA Rural Development Investments to Improve Rural Iowa’s Electric Infrastructure and Increase Grid Resilience

Darin Leach
Des Moines
Release Date

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett recently announced that USDA is investing $1.6 billion in 46 rural electric utility infrastructure projects to improve electric reliability and resilience in 24 states.  Three projects in Iowa are receiving funding as part of this announcement including Western Iowa Power Cooperative, Grundy County Rural Electric Cooperative and Calhoun County Rural Electric Cooperative.

“Reliable and affordable power is an underpinning for economic development and quality of life,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in building prosperity in rural communities through the sustainment and modernization of rural electric infrastructure.”

The 46 projects announced are being funded through USDA’s Electric Program. These investments will help contribute to a stronger rural electric system by improving operations and reliability. USDA’s funding will help build or improve 5,833 miles of line. It includes $307 million in smart grid technologies, which improve system operations and monitor grid security.  These investments, such as the ones listed below, will benefit 7 million rural business and residential electric consumers across the country.

Western Iowa Power Cooperative – Denison, Iowa

This $9,000,000 Rural Development investment will be used to add 22 miles of line, improve 104 miles and make other system improvements, including $2.8 million for smart grid technologies. Western Iowa Power Cooperative serves 5,519 residential and commercial consumers.

Grundy County Rural Electric Cooperative – Grundy Center, Iowa

This $2,500,000 Rural Development investment will be used to build 41 miles of line, improve 10 miles and make other system improvements, including nearly $210,000 in smart grid technologies. Grundy County Rural Electric Cooperative serves nearly 2,300 residential and business customers through 918 miles of line.

Calhoun County Rural Electric Cooperative – Rockwell City, Iowa

This $4,000,000 Rural Development investment will be used to build 12 miles of line, improve 64 miles and make system improvements, including an investment of $64,000 in smart grid technologies. The Calhoun County Electric Cooperative Association serves 1,690 residential, agricultural and commercial consumers through 756 miles of line.

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.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).  

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.

Contact USDA Rural Development

Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/ia or by calling (515) 284-4663.

USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas.  Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.