Vilsack Announces Funding To Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure
TEMPLE, July 12, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today 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.
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.
In Texas, Houston County Electric Cooperative was awarded almost $9 million in funding through this announcement. 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.
“Electric cooperatives provide a vital service to rural Texas communities,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development Texas State Director. “USDA Rural Development is pleased to assist Houston County Electric Cooperative, Inc., to improve the efficiency of valuable and reliable services to rural homeowners, farms and businesses.”
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.
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