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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Funding To Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure and Make the 'Grid' More Reliable and Efficient

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that rural electric cooperative utilities in 10 states will receive loans to install smart grid technologies and make improvements to generation and transmission facilities. Examples of funding announced today include a $102.8 million guaranteed loan to the Jackson Electric Membership Corporation in Jefferson, GA, to build and improve over 850 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan also includes $7.2 million in smart grid projects.

"A 21st century electric grid is essential to America's ability to create jobs in the clean energy economy of the future." Vilsack said. "These investments enable consumers and businesses to better manage their use of electricity and help maintain affordable rates. Building transmission infrastructure that employs smart grid technologies will make it easier to add renewable sources of electricity into the grid and also improve reliability."

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 nearly $20 million in Smart Grid technologies. For example, In Kentucky, Cumberland Valley Electric was selected to receive a $17.6 million guaranteed loan, including $2.2 million in smart grid projects. Funds will be used to build and improve 100 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

The $334 million in loans 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.

The following is a list of rural utilities that will receive USDA funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

Georgia

Jackson Electric Membership Corporation -- $102,800,000. Funding will be used to serve 8,656 consumers, build and improve 855 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $7,218,525 in smart grid projects.
Kentucky

Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation -- $12,000,000. Funding will be used to construct and improve 102 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan also includes $543,087 for smart grid projects.
Cumberland Valley Electric, Inc. -- $17,608,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 100 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $2.2 million in smart grid projects.
Minnesota

Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative -- $18,450,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 101 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan also includes $5.9 million in smart grid projects.
Missouri

Missouri Rural Electric Cooperative -- $3,000,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 44 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.
Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska

Atchison-Holt Electric Cooperative -- $5,000,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 62 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.
Nebraska

Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Association -- $7,839,000. Funding will be used to serve 113 consumers, build and improve 49 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $1,823,200 in smart grid projects.
North Carolina

North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation -- $33,822,000. Funding will be used to finance capital improvements at the Catawba nuclear Station Units 1 and 2.
Oklahoma

Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc. -- $4,787,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 26 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.
Virginia

Northern Neck Electric Cooperative -- $14,337,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 88 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $1.1 million for smart grid projects.
Washington

Public Utility District No. 1 of Jefferson County -- $115,507,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 825 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $99,000 in smart grid 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 and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $165 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 America.


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