On January 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is investing $2.7 billion in 64 electric cooperatives and utilities with the goal of expanding and modernizing the nation’s rural electric grid and increasing grid security. Of the 64 projects included in this announcement, 48 went to electric cooperatives.
USDA is investing in these projects through the Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. This funding will be directed towards rural people and businesses in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The loans direct $613 million to cooperatives and rural utilities to install and upgrade smart grid technologies.
Nearly half of the awards will help finance infrastructure improvements in underserved communities.
Some electric cooperatives receiving loans include:
- The Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative is receiving a $111 million loan to connect 1,264 consumers and build and improve 404 miles of line. The loan includes $13.4 million for smart grid technologies. Northern Virginia Electric, headquartered in Manassas, serves 176,604 consumers over 7,614 miles of line in six counties.
- The Carteret-Craven Electric Membership Cooperative in Newport, North Carolina, is receiving a $28 million loan to connect 3,115 consumers and build and improve 132 miles of line. The loan includes $169,437 for smart grid technologies. Carteret-Craven Electric serves 41,655 consumers through 2,493 miles of line in four counties in southeastern North Carolina.
- Minnesota’s Beltrami Electric Cooperative is receiving a $22.7 million loan to connect 1,480 consumers and build and improve 225 miles of line. The loan includes $1.3 million for smart grid technologies. Beltrami Electric is headquartered in Bemidji, Minnesota. It serves 21,772 consumers in portions of Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, and Koochiching counties, with 3,500 miles of distribution line covering approximately 3,000 square miles.
NCBA CLUSA applauds USDA’s investments in cooperatives to strengthen our nation’s rural electric infrastructure and will keep members informed as USDA announces additional energy infrastructure financing.