RED LAKE FALLS, Minn., Jul 25, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited the Red Lake Electric Cooperative today to highlight how a $5,166,000 loan guarantee will build and improve distribution line, complete smart-grid projects and make other system improvements to maintain and improve service reliability.
“Much like it did in the 1930s and 40s, rural electric systems create jobs and drive economic development,” Landkamer said. “This loan ensures that Red Lake’s service area can retain existing businesses, create new job opportunities and have modern, up-to-date infrastructure.”
As a result of the loan, Red Lake will add 188 new customers, improve 58 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements that serve the cooperatives 5,000 members. Nearly $200,000 will be used for smart-grid projects to make efficiency improvements and help consumers lower their electric bills and reduce energy use.
“Red Lake Electric Cooperative has benefited from the USDA by having a reliable and affordable source of financing to fund its growth over the past 74 years,” general manager Roger Johanneck said. “The USDA program has been a good lender and the Red Lake Electric Cooperative and rural electrics in general have been good borrowers. Red Lake Electric has never missed a loan payment to the USDA in 74 years. It has been a win-win arrangement for both sides. We are grateful for the services the USDA offers.”
Red Lake has received over $22 million in loans from the USDA. Since 2009, Rural Development has invested about $500 million throughout Minnesota to improve rural electric infrastructure and smart-grid technology. USDA also invests in renewable energy and energy conservation projects.
Other USDA Rural Development program areas invest in essential community facilities, housing, businesses, broadband Internet and other infrastructure projects. Since 2009, Rural Development has invested over $3 billion throughout Minnesota.
To learn more about Rural Development programs, call the office in Thief River Falls at (218) 681-2843, or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn.
Red Lake Electric Cooperative is one of the Minnkota Power Systems and serves Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake and Polk counties in northwestern Minnesota. To learn more, visit www.redlakeelectric.com.