ST. PAUL, Minn., Sep 15, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced that three rural electric cooperatives in Minnesota will receive $18 million for generation and transmission projects, distribution facilities and smart grid technologies. These loans will serve 618 customers in rural Minnesota with 231 miles of new or improved distribution lines and invest $1.3 million in smart grid technologies.
“Rural electric cooperatives often lead the charge for rural economic development in Minnesota,” Landkamer said. “These projects will help ensure that electric cooperative utilities can continue to provide affordable and reliable electricity to encourage growth in rural areas. Investing in generation and transmission is critical if we are to take advantage of new smart grid technologies.”
Minnesota cooperatives to receive funding include:
• Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services (serving MN and IA) – $3 million loan to serve 122 customers with 25 miles of new line, improve 56 miles of existing line and make $157,000 in Smart Grid investments.
• Renville-Sibley Cooperative Power Association – $8,600,000 loan to serve 72 customers with 10 miles of new line, improve 32 miles of existing line and make $1.1 million in Smart Grid investments.
• North Star Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $6,100,000 loan to serve 424 customers with 46 miles of new line, improve 62 miles of existing line and make $30,000 in Smart Grid investments.
The Minnesota projects were part of $603 million in loans announced nationally that will help electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America’s electric infrastructure. The funding will build or improve nearly 5,000 miles of distribution line and more than 100 miles of transmission line. USDA Rural Development also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects.
For more information on Rural Development programs, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn.