Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week announced that rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 15 states will receive loan guarantees to make improvements to generation and transmission facilities and implement smart grid technologies.

"Maintaining and upgrading rural electric systems creates jobs and supports economic development," Vilsack said. "These loans I am announcing today will have a lasting impact on the rural landscape for generations to come. They will help ensure that rural areas can retain existing businesses, support new ones and have reliable, up-to-date infrastructure."

With this funding, USDA Rural Development moves closer to reaching Secretary Vilsack's goal to fund more than $250 million for smart grid technologies. Today's announcement includes support for more than $10 million in smart grid technologies, which help utilities make efficiency improvements to the electric grid and help consumers lower their electric bills by reducing energy use in homes and businesses.

Corn Belt Power Cooperative in Iowa will use funds to finance advanced technology generation system improvements that increase efficiencies and manage costs. The nearly $55.8 million loan guarantee also includes $22.8 million in environmental improvement projects.

The funding announcement also includes a $24 million loan guarantee for the Midwest Energy Cooperative in Cassopolis, Michigan. The utility plans to build and upgrade 208 miles of distribution and transmission line. The loan includes $788,410 in smart grid projects.

In Dobson, North Carolina, the Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation won a $20 million loan guarantee to build and improve 114 miles of distribution and transmission line that will serve nearly 1,500 customers. This loan includes $1.4 million for smart grid projects.

The following is a list of rural utilities that will receive USDA funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

Georgia

Illinois

  • Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative, Inc. – $7,900,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 45 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, serving 229 customers. The loan includes $54,500 for smart grid projects.

Iowa

  • Corn Belt Power Cooperative – $55,788,000. Funds will be used to finance generation system improvements and minority ownership in the Walter Scott Jr. Energy Center Unit 4. The loan includes $22,838,826 in environmental improvement projects.
  • Maquoketa Valley Rural Electric Cooperative – $3,250,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 252 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, serving 635 customers. The loan includes $220,000 in smart grid projects.

Kansas

Kentucky

  • Licking Valley Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation – $19,726,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 186 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, serving 1,250 customers. The loan includes $689,227 in smart grid projects.

Michigan, Indiana and Ohio

  • Midwest Energy Cooperative – $24,000,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 208 miles of distribution and transmission line and make other system improvements, serving 1,100 customers. The loan includes $788,140 in smart grid projects.

Minnesota

  • Red Lake Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $5,166,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 58 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, serving 188 customers. The loan includes $199,460 in smart grid projects.

Missouri

  • Barry Electric Cooperative – $14,335,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 47 miles of distribution line, 12 miles of transmission line and make other system improvements, serving 822 customers.

North Carolina

  • Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation – $20,000,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 114 miles of distribution and transmission line and make other system improvements, serving 1,489 customers. The loan includes $1,348,950 in smart grid projects.
  • Cape Hatteras Electric Membership Corporation – $9,792,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 17 miles of distribution and transmission line and make other system improvements, serving 290 customers. The loan includes $2,167,000 in smart grid projects.

Oklahoma

  • Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $12,900,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 27 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, serving 936 customers.

Pennsylvania

  • Adams Electric Cooperative – $40,000,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 200 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, serving 1,443 customers. The loan includes $767,950 in smart grid projects.

South Dakota

  • Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $36,972,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 467 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements, serving 1,610 customers. The loan includes $2,807,850 in smart grid projects.

Texas

  • Houston County Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $8,347,000. Funds will be used 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 $287 million in loan guarantees announced today are provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The funding helps electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America's electric infrastructure. USDA Rural Development also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects.