(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 21 states.
“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 being 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.
Upon hearing about two New Mexico electric projects being funded in Socorro and in Taos, USDA Rural Development State Director Blake Curtis said, “Funding the expansion of the electric service in Socorro and Taos demonstrates Rural Development’s commitment to provide reliable electric service for those living in rural New Mexico.”
New Mexico’s Socorro Electric Cooperative Inc. is receiving a $28 million loan to connect 485 consumers, build and improve 45 miles of distribution line, and build and improve 25 miles of line for the Magdalena Transmission Line Rebuild project. The loan includes $2.4 million in smart grid technologies. Socorro serves nearly 13,000 consumers through 3,261 miles of distribution line and 42 miles of transmission line in Catron, Cibola, Sierra, Valencia and Socorro counties.
Syncarpha Capital is a New York based company that builds solar photovoltaic energy systems throughout the country including Taos, New Mexico. A $3.6 million investment by USDA will be used to develop a 3.12-megawatt solar photovoltaic farm in Taos County. Kit Carson Electric Cooperative will purchase the electricity to provide power to its customers.
The investments announced today are being made in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
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.
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