The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that it is providing $276 million in support to rural electric cooperatives in 12 states for infrastructure projects. It also said that $65 million of that total will go to metering and software to deploy smart grid technology.
“USDA’s longstanding partnerships with rural electric cooperatives help ensure that rural areas have affordable, reliable electric service,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue said in a press release. “These investments also increase efficiency and productivity for businesses and residents and support the quality of life in rural America.”
Excelsior Electric Membership Corp. in Metter, GA, for example, is receiving a loan for more than $16 million to improve 120 miles of infrastructure, which was battered last fall by Hurricane Irma. A $25,000 portion of that total is earmarked for smart grid improvements. Part of Excelsior’s recovery effort involved using advanced communications systems, including NRTC’s WISER system to organize visiting work crews.
Infrastructure and smart grid support will be in the form of direct loan guarantees through USDA’s Electric Program. NRTC member cooperatives appearing on the list of recipients include: