USDA to fund electric power grid upgrades in seven states

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the release of funding for electric transmission and distribution projects in seven states, including Minnesota, to improve electric power service for about 7,000 rural electricity customers.

The loan guarantees are made available through the Rural Utilities Service of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development. They include more than $5 million for smart grid projects and nearly $3 million to improve electric service for Native Americans.

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. The Obama administration has invested more than $135 million in smart grid technologies nationwide during 2013.

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

Iowa

East-Central Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative — $10 million. Funds will be used to serve 327 customers, build 211 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $483,259 for smart grid projects.

Farmers Electric Cooperative Inc. — $10 million. Funds will be used to serve 305 customers, build 273 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $60,000 for smart grid projects.

Southwest Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative — $6 million. Funds will be used to serve 336 customers, build 133 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $145,711 for smart grid projects.

Kansas

The Western Cooperative Electric Association Inc. — $16.5 million. Funds will be used to serve 200 customers, build 349 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements.

Minnesota

Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative — $9.9 million. Funds will be used to serve 463 customers, build 84 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $770,000 for smart grid projects and $386,100 for service to Native Americans.

North Itasca Electric Co-op. Inc. — $5,931,000. Funds will be used to serve 400 customers, build 124 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $987,490 for smart grid projects and $108,680 for service to Native Americans.

Missouri

West Central Electric Cooperative Inc. — $20 million. Funds will be used to serve 840 customers, build 125 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $448,000 for smart grid projects.

Oklahoma

Kiwash Electric Cooperative Inc. — $10,127,000. Funds will be used to serve 549 customers, build 178 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $74,000 for smart grid projects.

Texas

Central Texas Electric Cooperative Inc. — $25 million. Funds will be used to serve 2,912 customers, build 589 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $856,500 for smart grid projects.

Wyoming

High Plains Power Inc. — $22,625,000. Funds will be used to serve 772 customers, build 127 miles of distribution line, 15 miles of transmission line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $1,398,000 for smart grid projects and $2,412,630 for service to Native Americans.

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