The USDA has announced that rural electric cooperative utilities in 10 states will receive loans to install smart grid technologies and make improvements to generation and transmission facilities. Examples of funding include a $102.8 million guaranteed loan to the Jackson Electric Membership Corporation in Jefferson, Georgia, to build and improve over 850 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan also includes $7.2 million in smart grid projects.

"A 21st century electric grid is essential to America's ability to create jobs in the clean energy economy of the future." said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "These investments enable consumers and businesses to better manage their use of electricity and help maintain affordable rates. Building transmission infrastructure that employs smart grid technologies will make it easier to add renewable sources of electricity into the grid and also improve reliability."

With this funding, USDA Rural Development moves closer to reaching Vilsack's goal to fund more than $250 million for Smart Grid technologies. Today's announcement includes support for nearly $20 million in Smart Grid technologies. For example, In Kentucky, Cumberland Valley Electric was selected to receive a $17.6 million guaranteed loan, including $2.2 million in smart grid projects. Funds will be used to build and improve 100 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

The $334 million in loans 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.

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

  • Jackson Electric Membership Corporation -- $102,800,000. Funding will be used to serve 8,656 consumers, build and improve 855 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan includes $7,218,525 in smart grid projects.

Kentucky

  • Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation – $12,000,000. Funding will be used to construct and improve 102 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan also includes $543,087 for smart grid projects.
  • Cumberland Valley Electric, Inc. – $17,608,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 100 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $2.2 million in smart grid projects.

Minnesota

  • Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative – $18,450,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 101 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan also includes $5.9 million in smart grid projects.

Missouri

  • Missouri Rural Electric Cooperative – $3,000,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 44 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska

  • Atchison-Holt Electric Cooperative – $5,000,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 62 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

Nebraska

  • Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Association – $7,839,000. Funding will be used to serve 113 consumers, build and improve 49 miles of distribution line, and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $1,823,200 in smart grid projects.

North Carolina

  • North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation – $33,822,000. Funding will be used to finance capital improvements at the Catawba nuclear Station Units 1 and 2.

Oklahoma

  • Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $4,787,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 26 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.

Virginia

  • Northern Neck Electric Cooperative – $14,337,000. Funds will be used to build and improve 88 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan includes $1.1 million for smart grid projects.

Washington

  • Public Utility District No. 1 of Jefferson County – $115,507,000. Funding will be used to build and improve 825 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $99,000 in smart grid projects.