STEVENS POINT, Wis., June 23, 2020 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Wisconsin State Director Frank Frassetto announced that USDA is investing $1.6 billion to build or improve rural electric infrastructure in 21 states.
“Reliable and modern 21st century infrastructure, including electric infrastructure and smart grid technologies, is a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America,” Frassetto said. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures.”
USDA is providing loans and loan guarantees to rural electric cooperatives and utilities through the Electric Loan Program. The recipients will use the funds to build and improve 9,138 miles of electric transmission and distribution line, benefiting 1 million rural residents and businesses. The loans include nearly $386 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
The investments announced today are being made in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
Dunn Energy Cooperative is receiving a $9.5 million loan to connect 599 consumers and build and improve 73 miles of line. This loan includes $3.3 million in smart grid technologies. Dunn Energy is headquartered Menomonie and serves approximately 10,000 consumers over 2,001 miles of line in six counties in west central Wisconsin.
Scenic Rivers Energy Cooperation’s investment loan of $10 million will be used to connect 805 customers and improve 422 miles of line. This loan includes $493,000 in smart grid technologies. Scenic River Energy is headquartered in Lancaster serves approximately 14,000 consumers and over 3,512 miles of line in seven counties in southwestern Wisconsin and two counties in northwestern Illinois.
OE WI Solar LLC is receiving a 960,000 loan to develop a 0.70 megawatt solar photovoltaic project in the town of Ashland and serves Ashland County.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/wi.
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