Washington, D.C., June 22, 2020 – The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.6 billion to build or improve rural electric infrastructure in 22 states, including three projects in Washington State.
“Reliable and modern 21st century infrastructure, including electric infrastructure and smart grid technologies, is a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America,” Secretary Perdue said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to be a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures.”
USDA is providing loans and loan guarantees to rural electric cooperatives and utilities through the Electric Loan Program. The recipients will use the funds to build and improve 9,138 miles of electric transmission and distribution line, benefiting 1 million rural residents and businesses. The loans include nearly $386 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
For example, in Washington State:
- Benton Rural Electric Association will receive $4.9 million to help connect 411 consumers and build 20 miles of line. Benton, headquartered in Prosser, Wash., serves more than 14,000 consumers across 1,700 miles of energized line in Benton, Lewis, and Yakima counties in south central Washington.
- Yakama Power is receiving $1 million to supplement operating expenses to mitigate the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yakama Power is headquartered on the Yakima Reservation, service area lies within the Yakama Reservation, which occupies portions of Yakima, Klickitat and Lewis counties in south-central Washington.
- Nespelem Valley Electric Cooperative will receive $200,000 to help provide operating expenses to mitigate the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nespelem Valley serves approximately 1,500 consumers over more than 400 miles of line in Douglas, Okanogan and Ferry counties in northern central Washington.
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.