USDA Invests $1.4 Billion to Improve Rural Electric InfrastructureWASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $1.4 billion in USDA loan guarantees to improve the delivery of electric power to rural communities in 21 states.
"With the help of investments such as these from USDA, rural electric utilities have delivered reliable and affordable electricity for nearly 80 years," Vilsack said. "Upgrading the electric grid will bring jobs and increased economic opportunities to rural communities."
Today's announcement includes $106 million for smart grid technologies and $3 million for renewable energy programs and systems. The funding will help diversify energy portfolios and decrease our nation's reliance on carbon-based fuel sources, Vilsack noted. Smart grid helps rural electric utilities manage power use more effectively. For fiscal year (FY) 2014, USDA's Rural Utilities Service provided more than $186 million for smart grid technologies.
USDA has worked with rural electric cooperatives since 1935 to provide electricity for rural consumers. Through the years, these investments have delivered new economic and social opportunities and have enhanced the quality of life in the nation's rural communities.