WASHINGTON — The USDA on Dec. 13 announced more than $1.8 billion in funding for electric utility infrastructure projects in 25 states and one territory to improve service for more than 37,000 rural customers.
The projects include more than $45 million for smart grid technology, $73 million for renewable energy projects and more than $213 million targeted to benefit Native Americans.
“Rural electric cooperatives have provided reliable, affordable power to rural communities for more than 75 years,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Today’s investments will help ensure our electric infrastructure continues to deliver reliable and affordable electricity for years to come.”
The funding is provided through the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service Program.
Among the projects being funded is a $4 million loan for the 340 consumers of the Bedford Rural Electric Cooperative Inc., which will be used to build 109 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $153,600 for smart grid projects.