News Release
Release No.STELPRD4022749
SAINT PAUL, Minn., Dec 16, 2013 --

@@Rural Development

375 Jackson Street | Suite 410

St. Paul, Minnesota, 55101

Voice 651.602.7800


Release No.: 00025


Nikki Gillespie, (651) 602-7786

USDA Officials Announce Electric System Improvements in Minnesota

Smart Grid Technology and Improved Service for Native Americans among Highlights

ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec. 16, 2013 – USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer today announced more than $15.5 million in funding for electric utility infrastructure projects to improve service for more than 300 rural customers in Minnesota. The projects include nearly $2.2 million for smart grid technology and over $1.1 million targeted to benefit Native Americans. This funding will build or improve 143 miles of line to deliver electricity to rural Minnesotans.

“Rural electric cooperatives have provided reliable, affordable power to rural communities for more than 75 years. Today’s investments will help ensure our electric infrastructure continues to deliver reliable and affordable electricity for years to come,” Landkamer said. “Investments in smart grid technologies will continue to modernize the electric system in Minnesota and improve operational efficiencies.”

Landkamer added that since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested over $704 million in rural electric infrastructure throughout Minnesota.

Among the 13 projects funded in 2013 is the Traverse Electric Cooperative, Inc., which serves rural electric consumers in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The member-owned utility will receive funding of nearly $5 million to build approximately 63 miles of line, invest in smart grid technologies and make other system improvements. 154 rural electric consumers in the three states will see direct benefits from this investment. Of the $168 million in funding, more than $1 million will serve Native Americans.

Minnesota Valley Cooperative Light and Power Association (MVCLPA) will receive a loan of $10.8 million to serve 160 consumers, build 80 miles of line, and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $660,000 for smart grid projects and $88,760 for service to Native Americans.

Today’s announcement is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy, and that’s just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.

USDA Rural Development has invested over $4.1 billion throughout Minnesota since 2009. In addition to investing in rural electric cooperatives, the agency has programs to improve rural housing, infrastructure, high-speed Internet, healthcare facilities and other economic development projects. To learn more about Rural Development, visit


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users)