USDA Pulls Trigger on Infrastructure Spending

Utilities in 10 states will get access to $334 million in loan funds from the USDA's Rural Development Rural Utility Service.

Published on: May 7, 2012

A lot of people forget that USDA has access to loan funds used by rural communities to enhance infrastructure in a number of ways. But late last week the public got a dose of how much money the agency can release - in loans - that can help communities achieve specific goals.

In this case, USDA, through its Rural Development Rural Utility Service, will offer $334 million in loans to utilities in 10 states. The loans will be spent developing smart grid technology and for improvemenst in generation and transmission facilities.

Says Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture: "A 21st Century electric grid is essential to America's ability to create jobs in the clean energy economy of the future. 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."

USDA Pulls Trigger on Infrastructure Spending
USDA Pulls Trigger on Infrastructure Spending

Smart grid technology actually monitors electric loads and balances the load to avoid blackouts and other issues, will also enhancing electric transmission capability. As more power grids communicate, there is enhanced use of existing power nationwide.

This latest round of loans will help Vilsack hit his goal to fund more than $250 million for the smart grid tech, and this latest round of funding includes $20 million for the new tools. A complete list of the new loans and the projects they will fund follows:

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.