Environmental Protection

USDA Loans Funding Rural Utilities' Smart Grid Improvements

Rural electric systems in eight states will benefit from $236.3 million in USDA loan guarantees to help them modernize and improve reliability, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced July 16.

Rural electric systems in eight states will benefit from $236.3 million in USDA loan guarantees to help them modernize and improve reliability, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced July 16. Nearly $20 million of the money will fund smart grid improvements, according to the agency's news release.

"America's infrastructure must be modernized if we are to continue to create jobs, expand opportunity, and be competitive in the global economy," Vilsack said. "Modernizing our nation's rural electric infrastructure will help better support economic development in rural areas while helping to ensure reliable and affordable electric service for people who live and work in small communities across the country."

Smart grid refers to using technologies to modernize the nation's electric system and increase the reliability of electric power. The USDA loans also will build or improve more than 3,700 miles of electrical lines in rural areas.

The loan guarantees went to utilities operating in California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia.

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