in Up Front
print the content item

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has 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.

According to the USDA, the projects include more than $45 million for smart grid technologies, $73 million for renewable energy projects and over $213 million targeted to benefit Native Americans. The department says this funding will build or improve more than 6,500 miles of line to deliver electricity to rural America.

The USDA notes that the funding is provided through its Rural Utilities Service Program. Some of the utilities set to receive funding include the following:

- The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, which serves rural electric consumers in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, will receive nearly $168 million in funding to build approximately 1,215 miles of line, invest in smart grid technologies and make other system improvements. The USDA says that almost 3,800 rural electric consumers in the three states will see direct benefits from this investment, and of the $168 million in funding, more than $166 million will serve Native Americans.

- North Dakota-based Nodak Electric Cooperative will receive a $31 million loan to serve 920 consumers, build 450 miles of line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $2.4 million for smart grid projects and $540,000 for service to Native Americans.

- Alabama-based Covington Electric Cooperative will receive a $42.5 million loan guarantee to construct 539 miles of line and make other system improvements, including $8,000 for smart grid applications. The USDA notes that these funds will increase electric system reliability for approximately 5,400 rural Alabama customers.

"Rural electric cooperatives have provided reliable, affordable power to rural communities for more than 75 years. [These] investments will help ensure our electric infrastructure continues to deliver reliable and affordable electricity for years to come," says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

"This funding is part of the Obama Administration's vision for a new rural energy economy and USDA's commitment to creating economic opportunity in rural America," he adds. "Investments in smart grid technologies will continue to modernize our nation's electric system and improve operational efficiencies."

A full list of rural electric utilities that will receive USDA funding is available here.

Hybrid Energy Innovations 2015
Latest Top Stories

Duke Energy Commits $500M To Major Solar Expansion In N.C.

The utility company says the investment will help further diversify its portfolio, as well as increase solar power for its North Carolina customers by 60%.

Sensus Issues Refund To SaskPower After Smart Meter Woes

As SaskPower continues to swap out its Sensus units following several meter failures, the two companies have reached an agreement in order for the utility to recover costs.

The Smart Utility's Guide To Choosing A Smart Meter

Electricity providers across North America are taking on grid modernization. This article outlines the myriad factors a utility should consider in order to select the best-possible smart meter.

DOE Report: U.S. Wind Power Prices Reach All-Time Low

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), wind power continues to play a larger role in the U.S.' energy mix and is the cheapest it has ever been in the country.

Survey Reveals What U.S. Consumers Expect From Their Utilities

GE's new survey measures Americans' views on the state and future of the grid, as well as how much extra consumers would be willing to pay for better power reliability.

S&C Electric_id176
Hybrid Energy Innovations 2015
Future Energy_id187