The Western Cooperative Electric Association, Inc, headquartered in Wakeeney, has received $16.5 million in funds to service 200 customers, build 349 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.
The Kansas cooperative was among projects in seven states that received funds to improve electric service for about 7,000 rural customers. Announcement of the funded projects came during a regional meeting of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and was made by Rural Utilities Service Administrator John Padalino.
The loan guarantees are made available through the Rural Utilities Service of U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. They include more than $5 million for smart grid projects and nearly $3 million to improve electric service for Native Americans.
Investments part of vision for new affordable rural energy
"These investments will continue to ensure that safe, reliable and affordable electric service is available for rural residents, farmers, and commercial and industrial consumers," Padalino said. "This funding is part of the Obama Administration's vision for a new rural energy economy. It includes investments in smart grid technologies that modernize our nation's electric system and improve system operation."
Other projects receiving funds are in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming.
The more than $136 million in USDA loan guarantees will help build more than 2,200 miles of line, fund more than $5 million in smart grid projects and make other system improvements.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the department implements sequestration - the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.
USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.