The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday said 27 rural electric cooperative utilities would receive $603 million in loans for generation and transmission projects, distribution facilities, and smart grid technologies. The loans are expected to finance rural electric utility improvements in 18 states.

The $603 million in loans are being provided by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to help electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America’s electric infrastructure, USDA said. RUS funding will help build or improve nearly 5,000 miles of distribution line and more than 100 miles of transmission line.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday also noted that USDA Rural Development is providing more than $35 million to finance smart grid technologies—such as advanced metering infrastructure—that utilities use to better manage electric supply and demand.

For example, Renville-Sibley Cooperative Power Association in Minnesota is receiving an $8.6 million loan to build or improve 42 miles of line. It will use $1.1 million for smart grid projects, including automated metering infrastructure and a geographic information system to increase mapping data accuracy. Also in Minnesota, Freeborn-Mower is receiving a $3 million loan invest in more 80 miles of new or improved line and implement smart grid technologies, including automated metering infrastructure and load management systems.

The following is a list of rural utilities that were selected to receive USDA funding. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.

Arkansas

Woodruff Electric Cooperative Corporation – $31,000,000 loan to serve 1,392 customers with 86 miles of new line, improve 137 miles of existing line and make $249,000 in Smart Grid investments.

North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $32,762,000 loan to serve 2,361 customers with 251 miles of new line and improve 166 miles of existing line.

Florida

Peace River Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $44,522,000 loan to serve 1,459 customers with 75 miles of new line, improve 395 miles of existing line and make $546,000 in Smart Grid investments.

Georgia

Oglethorpe Power Corporation – $127,703,000 loan to finance the acquisition of the existing Murray Units I & II Natural Gas-fired Combine Cycle Generation Facility.

Indiana

Johnson County Rural Electric Membership Corporation – $15,000,000 loan to serve 2,100 customers with 149 miles of new line, improve 89 miles of existing line and make $6.8 million in Smart Grid investments.

Iowa

Guthrie County Rural Electric Cooperative Association – $6,500,000 loan to serve 30 customers with 2 miles of new line, improve 399 miles of existing line and make $20,000 in Smart Grid investments.

Kansas

DS&O Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $14,420,000 loan to serve 925 customers with 273 miles of new line, improve 88 miles of existing line and make $165,000 in Smart Grid investments.

Prairie Land Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $36,900,000 loan to serve 1,548 customers with 156 miles of new line, improve 111 miles of existing line and make $3.4 million in Smart Grid investments.

The Caney Valley Electric Cooperative Association, Inc. – $3,600,000 loan to serve 516 customers with 39 miles of new line and improve 101 miles of existing line.

Minnesota

Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services (serving MN and IA) – $3,000,000 loan to serve 122 customers with 25 miles of new line, improve 56 miles of existing line and make $157,000 in Smart Grid investments.

Renville-Sibley Cooperative Power Association – $8,600,000 loan to serve 72 customers with 10 miles of new line, improve 32 miles of existing line and make $1.1 million in Smart Grid investments.

North Star Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $6,100,000 loan to serve 424 customers with 46 miles of new line, improve 62 miles of existing line and make $30,000 in Smart Grid investments.

Missouri

Central Missouri Electric Cooperative – $2,000,000 loan to serve 520 customers with 44 miles of new line and improve 28 miles of existing line.

M & A Electric Power Cooperative – $38,129,000 loan to finance additions and improvements to the borrower’s transmission facilities, to build 5 miles of new line, improve 17 miles of existing line and make $1.8 million in Smart Grid investments.

N.W. Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (serving MO, IA and NE) – $43,250,000 loan to finance proposed additions and improvements to transmission facilities, improve 11 miles of existing line and make $8.7 million in Smart Grid investments.

Montana

Vigilante Electric Cooperative, Inc. (serving MT and ID) – $10,265,000 loan to serve 1,043 customers with 153 miles of new line, improve 33 miles of existing line and make $146,000 in Smart Grid investments.

North Carolina

Haywood Electric Membership Corporation (serving NC, GA and SC) – $25,000,000 loan to serve 2,660 customers with 45 miles of new line and improve 28 miles of existing line.

Albermarle Electric Membership Corporation – $12,000,000 loan to serve 1,509 customers with 107 miles of new line, improve 32 miles of existing line and make $215,000 in Smart Grid investments.

North Dakota

Cass County Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $22,000,000 loan to serve 4,984 customers with 246 miles of new line, improve 36 miles of existing line and make $4.1 million in Smart Grid investments.

Roughrider Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $15,000,000 loan to serve 727 customers with 79 miles of new line, improve 155 miles of existing line and make $962,000 in Smart Grid investments.

Ohio

Mid-Ohio Energy Cooperative, Inc. – $7,000,000 loan to serve 200 customers with 26 miles of new line, improve 62 miles of existing line and make $875,000 in Smart Grid investments.

Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $20,115,000 loan to serve 860 customers with 47 miles of new line, improve 93 miles of existing line and make $2.1 million in Smart Grid investments.

Oklahoma

Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $12,704,000 loan to serve 2,004 customers with 82 miles of new line, improve 76 miles of existing line and make $1.2 million in Smart Grid investments.

South Dakota

Charles Mix Electric Association, Inc. – $4,834,000 loan to serve 160 customers with 17 miles of new line, improve 42 miles of existing line and make $114,000 in Smart Grid investments.

Central Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $16,338,000 loan to serve 324 customers with 96 miles of new line, improve 120 miles of existing line and make $145,000 in Smart Grid investments.

Texas

Lighthouse Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $14,000,000 loan to serve 984 customers with 232 miles of new line, improve 34 miles of existing line and make $738,000 in Smart Grid investments.

Lamb County Electric Cooperative, Inc. – $30,269,000 loan to serve 1,795 customers with 284 miles of new line, improve 26 miles of existing line and make $2 million in Smart Grid investments.

Sources: POWERnews, USDA