USDA loans benefit rural smart grid


Rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 12 states are going to receive loan guarantees to improve generation and transmission facilities and implement smart grid technology.

"In his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama said that in America we have 'an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair' and these investments help to address our country's infrastructure challenges," USDA Rural Utilities Acting Administrator John Padalino said in his announcement of the funding. "Upgrading rural infrastructure sets the stage for economic development, because access to reliable, affordable electricity is essential to rural job creation."

The investment includes more than $8 million in smart grid funding which will help utilities make efficiency improvements to the electric grid and help consumers lower their electric bills by reducing energy use in homes and businesses.

Florida's Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative will receive the most in smart grid funding -- $1.34 million -- with Oklahoma's Cotton Electric Cooperative coming in not far behind with $1.3 million for smart grid projects.

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