This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
USDA Funds Improved Rural Electric Infrastructures
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on July 12 that rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 15 states will receive $287 million in loan guarantees to make improvements to generation and transmission facilities and to implement smart grid technologies. The announcement includes support for more than $10 million in smart grid technologies. This will help utilities make efficiency improvements to the electric grid and help consumers lower their electric bills by reducing energy use in homes and businesses. With this funding, USDA Rural Development moves closer to reaching a department goal to fund more than $250 million for smart grid technologies.
In Texas, Houston County Electric Cooperative is receiving $9 million to build and improve 421 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, serving 2,000 customers. The loan includes $670,000 in smart grid projects. The loan guarantees are provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service. The funding helps electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain, and replace electric infrastructure. USDA Rural Development also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects. See the USDA press release.