USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager on Thursday announced funding to modernize and improve the efficiency of rural electric generation and transmission systems.
Tonsager made the announcement during a speech before members of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
"USDA and the Obama administration continue to support investment by rural cooperatives that will modernize service and improve reliability for rural businesses and residential customers," Tonsager said. "Several of these utilities and cooperatives are also receiving funding that will allow them to deploy smart grid technologies in their operation."
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last month that USDA met its goal to finance $250 million in smart grid technologies in fiscal year 2012. The announcement includes support for $9.8 million in smart grid technologies.
The $168 million in loan guarantees announced today are provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service. The funding helps electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America's electric infrastructure. The agency 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.
Alabama: Cullman Electric Cooperative: $29,190,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 461 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan guarantee includes $937,600 in smart grid projects.
Arkansas: South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative, Inc.: $10,800,000. Funds will be used to serve build and improve 141 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan guarantee includes $1,099,000 in smart grid projects.