WASHINGTON, Jul 11, 2012 -- Local Contact:
Dawn Bonsell (717) 237-2286
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding
To Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure
Funding Includes $10 Million for Smart Grid Technology
WASHINGTON, July 11, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 15 states will receive loan guarantees to make improvements to generation and transmission facilities and implement smart grid technologies.
“Maintaining and upgrading rural electric systems creates jobs and supports economic development,” Vilsack said. “These loans I am announcing today will have a lasting impact on the rural landscape for generations to come. They will help ensure that rural areas can retain existing businesses, support new ones and have reliable, up-to-date infrastructure.”
With this funding, USDA Rural Development moves closer to reaching Secretary Vilsack’s goal to fund more than $250 million for smart grid technologies. Today’s announcement includes support for more than $10 million in smart grid technologies, which help utilities make efficiency improvements to the electric grid and help consumers lower their electric bills by reducing energy use in homes and businesses.
Corn Belt Power Cooperative in Iowa will use funds to finance advanced technology generation system improvements that increase efficiencies and manage costs. The nearly $55.8 million loan guarantee also includes $22.8 million in environmental improvement projects.
Today’s funding announcement also includes a $24 million loan guarantee for the Midwest Energy Cooperative in Cassopolis, MI. The utility plans to build and upgrade 208 miles of distribution and transmission line. The loan includes $788,410 in smart grid projects.
In Dobson, NC, the Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation won a $20 million loan guarantee to build and improve 114 miles of distribution and transmission line that will serve nearly 1,500 customers. This loan includes $1.4 million for smart grid projects.
In Pennsylvania, Adams Electric Cooperative received $40,000,000. The funds will be used to build and improve 200 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, serving 1,443 customers. The loan includes $767,950 in smart grid projects.
The $287 million in loan guarantees announced today are provided by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The funding helps electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America’s electric infrastructure. USDA Rural Development also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects.
Since taking office, the Obama Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America’s rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas.
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