Agriculture Secretary Announces Goal for Smart Grid Investments and Funding to Improve Electric Services to Customers in 10 States | USDA
USDA In Facebook USDA In Twitter Google+ USDA Blog USDA In Youtube USDA govdelivery USDA In Flickr USDA RSS
Stay Connected
News Release
  Release No. 0247.11
Contact:
USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

 Printable version
Email this page Email this page
  Agriculture Secretary Announces Goal for Smart Grid Investments and Funding to Improve Electric Services to Customers in 10 States
 

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2011 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined Administration officials today to announce initiatives aimed at modernizing the nation's electric grid, including USDA's goal to invest $250 million in smart grid equipment deployment in rural America over the next 12 months.

"This is one more step in our effort to modernize rural America's electric grid." Vilsack said. "Smart grid technologies give consumers greater control over their electric costs and help utilities efficiently manage power generation and delivery. Through the use of modern technology we can improve the efficiency of distribution, increase reliability, and win the future through innovation."

Smart grid technologies give consumers more control over their electric costs and help utilities better manage the electric grid to improve operational efficiency. Smart grid investments make it possible to increase the use of renewable energy by balancing intermittent sources of power – like wind and solar –with other fuels. A smart grid also enables greater use of demand side management tools to save energy.

With funding from USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), rural electric cooperatives are leading the way in smart grid deployments. Last year, RUS approved $7.1 billion in loans for a broad range of rural electric grid modernization, including $152 million in loans for smart meters. Smart grid infrastructure includes metering, substation automation, computer applications to monitor and control systems and processes, two-way communications, geospatial information systems, and additional system improvements.

As an ongoing example of the Obama Administration's commitment to smart grid technologies, Vilsack announced that $106 million in electric loans USDA Rural Development is providing includes $7.4 million in smart grid technology for technologies such as load management and automatic meter reading.

In Kentucky, for example, the Blue Grass Energy Cooperative Corporation will receive a loan guarantee of nearly $38 million to build more than 152 miles of line. In addition, the rural electric cooperative will use $2.7 million for smart grid technologies, including automated meter reading and load management automation, which can allow for more efficient control over the use of power to better meet customers' needs.

In North Carolina and Tennessee, French Broad Electric Membership Corporation will receive a loan guarantee of $20 million, with more than $2.4 million to be used for advanced meter infrastructure upgrades that can help utilities and customers better control the use and production of electric energy.

The following is a list of rural utilities that were selected to receive USDA funding, which is contingent upon the borrower meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

Indiana

  • Jasper County Rural Electric Membership Corporation — $4,000,000 will be used to build 17 miles of new distribution line, make improvements to 19 miles of existing distribution line, and make other system improvements. $15,000 will be used for advanced meter deployment.

Kansas

  • Nemaha-Marshall Electric Cooperative Association, Inc. — $7,640,000 will be used to build 35 miles of new distribution line and make other system improvements. $976,000 will be used for advanced meter deployment.

Kentucky

  • Blue Grass Energy Cooperative Corporation — $37,992,000 will be used to build 152 miles of new distribution line, make improvements to 171 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. $2.7 million will be used for advanced meter deployment.

Montana

  • Tongue River Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $7,694,000 will be used to build 21 miles of new distribution line, make improvements to 35 miles of existing distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan also includes $660,000 for advanced meter deployment.

North Carolina and Tennessee

  • French Broad Electric Membership Corporation — $20,000,000 will be used to build 163 miles of new distribution line, make improvements to 125 miles of existing distribution line, and make other system improvements. $2.4 million will be used for smart grid technology for advanced meter deployment.

North Dakota

  • KEM Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $6,000,000 will be used to build 17 miles of new distribution line, make improvements to 118 miles of existing distribution line, and make other system improvements. $50,460 will be used for advanced meter deployment.
  • Cavalier Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. — $8,183,000 will be used to build 28 miles of new distribution line, make improvements to 185 miles of existing distribution line, and make other system improvements. $8,100 will be used for advanced meter deployment.

Virginia and West Virginia

  • Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative — $4,400,000 will be used to build 81 miles of new distribution line, make improvements to 47 miles of existing distribution line, and make other system improvements. $563,600 will be used for smart grid technology such as advanced meter deployment.

Washington

  • Benton Rural Electric Association — $10,167,000 will be used to build 32 miles of new distribution line, and make other system improvements.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $150 billion in loans and loan guarantees. Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.

#

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).