U.S. Department of Agriculture Officials Announced $3.6Billion in loans to Fund 82 Electric Projects
Published: November 11, 2016
U.S. Department of Agriculture officials announced $3.6 billion in loans to fund 82 electric projects in 31 states. The loans, provided through the Electric Program of the Rural Utilities Service, will be used for projects that upgrade infrastructure, create jobs and improve system operations for rural electric customers.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $3.6 billion in loans to fund 82 electric projects in 31 states. These loans will finance infrastructure upgrades, create jobs and improve system operations for rural electric customers nationwide.
The $3.6 billion will build or improve 12,500 miles of transmission and distribution line. It includes $216 million for smart grid technologies, $35 million for renewable energy, $26 million for environmental improvements, and nearly $1.8 million for energy efficiency. The loans are being provided through the Electric Program of the Rural Utilities Service, the successor to the Rural Electrification Administration. Eighty years ago this spring, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the law that charged USDA to provide electric power to rural America. The Electric Program makes loans and loan guarantees to non-profit and cooperative associations, public bodies and other utilities.
In addition to today's announcement, since 2009, USDA has invested $38 billion in electric loans and more than $1 billion for smart grid technologies, helping build more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution. Smart grid technology increases the reliability of electric power by helping utilities better manage the electric grid to improve operational efficiencies. It includes metering, substation automation, computer applications, two-way communications, geospatial information systems and other improvements.
Improvements to rural electric utility systems help to provide reliable and affordable electricity to rural customers, increasing efficiencies, reducing carbon emissions and improving the quality of life in rural areas. To read more about USDA's investments in renewable energy and the bio-based economy, visit USDA's entry on Medium.com, Powering America with a More Sustainable Energy Future