U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for South Dakota Julie Gross and State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today announced that USDA is investing over $198 million in East River Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. to upgrade the rural electric system and finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.
“A cornerstone to rural prosperity is modern and reliable electric infrastructure. The funding we are providing is important to both South Dakota and Minnesota and reflects our commitment to invest in critical infrastructure needs in rural communities. When rural America thrives, all of America thrives,” said Gross and Finstad.
USDA is providing financing through the Electric Loan Program. East River Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. is receiving $198,910,000 to make improvements to their headquarters’ facility, build new and updated substations, and build 135 miles and improve 469 miles of transmission line that will enhance system resilience and reliability. This loan includes funding for smart grid technologies, including 65 miles of fiber cable between substations to enhance communication capability.
East River is a generation and transmission electric cooperative headquartered in Madison, South Dakota. East River provides power to 25 rural electric utilities that serve 41 counties in eastern South Dakota and 22 counties in western Minnesota.
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. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic.
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. Learn more at www.rd.usda.gov/sd or www.rd.usda.gov/mn.