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Virginia to Benefit from $2.7 Billion USDA Investment in Grid Security and Reliability

Barbara Bowen
Release Date

State Electric Cooperatives Receiving $177 Million in Total Funding

RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 30, 2023 – Three Virginia electric cooperatives will soon be “working smarter” to provide enhanced services to more than 270,000 customers thanks to a $2.7 billion U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investment to expand the nation’s rural power grid and modernize it for increased security.

The loans provided to 64 electric cooperatives and utilities includes a $613 million allocation to help these entities install/upgrade smart grid technologies, which deliver more affordable power by efficiently managing the transport of electricity from generation sources to meet the varying demands of residential, commercial and agricultural consumers. The Virginia funding offered through the USDA Rural Development Electric Loan Program will be used to connect:

  • 1,264 Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) consumers and build and improve 404 miles of line with $13.4 million of the $111 million award going to smart grid technologies. This funding will also support co-op projects such as system reliability improvements, new customer service extensions, advanced metering infrastructure equipment, and substation and distribution facilities additions and upgrades. The work will be conducted across NOVEC’s service territory over the next three years. Northern Virginia Electric, headquartered in Manassas, serves 176,604 consumers over 7,614 miles of line in six counties in Northern Virginia and the city of Manassas Park. 
  • 2,773 Southside Electric Cooperative consumers and build and improve 536 miles of line, replace transmission poles and upgrade the transmission system. The $36 million in funding includes $1,980,259 in smart grid technologies for the co-op, which is headquartered in Crewe and serves 57,949 consumers over 8,403 miles of line in 18 counties and one city in south central Virginia.
  • 1,699 Central Virginia Electric Cooperative consumers, build and improve 211 miles of line and upgrade the transmission system ($7,032,388 of the $30 million award used for smart grid technologies). Headquartered in Arrington, this coop serves 38,275 consumers over 4,773 miles of line in 14 central Virginia counties.

The 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. Nearly half of the total funding will help finance infrastructure improvements in underserved communities.

“Connectivity is key to economic development,” said Perry Hickman, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “The smart grid technology integrated into all three state projects can help open doors for unserved and underserved rural Virginians to receive broadband and other telecommunications services.” 

Virginia is one of 26 states receiving awards that will benefit nearly 2 million rural people and businesses. Funding was also provided to companies in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.  

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. 

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.    

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, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, 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.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.