USDA Boosts Smart Grid, Transmission System Improvements in 14 States

September 21, 2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on August 29 that rural electric cooperative utilities will receive funding for Smart Grid technologies and improvements to generation and transmission facilities. The $900 million in loans are provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service, and they will benefit more than 19,000 rural consumers in 14 states.

Among the rural electric cooperative utilities that will receive funding are Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc., which serves Indiana and parts of Illinois. Hoosier received a $462.5 million loan to fund system projects to improve reliability and comply with environmental requirements. The loan will also finance Smart Grid technologies and transmission line improvements. Also, Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Inc. received a $23.5 million loan to build or improve nearly 250 miles of distribution line and to make other system improvements. The loan includes $1.2 million for automated metering. See the USDA press release for a list of rural utilities that were selected to receive funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.