Electric coops share $280 million in USDA loans for smart grid and other uses



Rural electric cooperatives and transmission companies in 13 states will share $280 million in loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Of that, an estimated $6 million will be used for smart grid projects.


"The partnership between USDA and rural electric utilities helps to improve service to customers and has made it easier for rural businesses to expand and create jobs," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in announcing the funding. "As part of President Obama's plan to improve the rural economy, we will continue to fund projects that increase system reliability. We also promote the expansion of smart grid technology which cuts peak demands and improves system reliability."


Below is a snapshot of where the money is going and how it will be spent:



  • Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association - $51,750,000. Funds will be used to upgrade and modify existing generation and transmission facilities. It includes $1,659,935 for environmental improvements.


  • Irwin Electric Membership Corporation - $25,000,000. Funds will be used to serve 1,693 customers, build 581 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

Georgia, Alabama and Florida

  • Georgia Transmission Corporation - $90,300,000. Funds will be used to build and improve transmission system projects covering the construction and improvement of 331 miles of line, six new substations and projects to upgrade existing substations and lines. The loan amount includes $3,091,744 in smart grid projects.