USDA invests $91M to improve, expand rural electric infrastructures
INDIANAPOLIS – US Department of Agriculture for Rural Development, Dr. Indiana State Director Terry Goodin announced Monday that the USDA is investing $91 million to help four electric power cooperatives and utilities expand and modernize Indiana’s rural power grid and improve grid security.
“Investments like the Electric Loan Program will benefit rural Hoosiers, people and businesses for years to come,” Goodin said. “This funding will help Hoosier’s rural cooperatives and utilities invest in changes that make energy more efficient, reliable and affordable. Additionally, funding these areas will improve Indiana’s infrastructure and bring high-paying jobs to Indiana.”
The USDA is investing in 64 projects through the Electric Loan Program. This funding will benefit nearly 2 million rural residents and businesses in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Oklahoma , Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
The loans include $613 million to help rural utilities and cooperatives install and upgrade smart grid technology. Smart grids can be a catalyst for broadband and other telecommunications services in unserved and underserved rural areas, in addition to improving network security and reliability.
The four funded Hoosier areas are:
• Tipmont Rural Electric Membership Corporation secured a $42 million loan to connect 1,350 consumers and build and upgrade 678 miles of line. This loan covers various smart grid projects totaling $16,689,068, including the installation of 573 miles of fiber optics to connect the cooperative’s headquarters to its substations. Headquartered in Linden, Indiana, Tipmont REMC serves 28,850 consumers across 2,700 miles in eight western Indiana counties.
• Harrison County Rural Electric Membership Corporation, based in Harrison County, received a $23 million loan to connect 1,454 consumers and build and upgrade a 137-mile line. This loan includes $2,830,292 in smart grid technologies. Harrison County is headquartered in Corydon, Indiana and serves an average of 23,633 members over 2,490 miles of live line in Harrison, Floyd, Crawford, Clark and Washington counties of southern Indiana.
• The Marshall County Rural Electric Membership receives a $10 million loan to connect 220 consumers and build and upgrade a 75-mile line. This loan includes $993,809 in smart grid technologies. Headquartered in Plymouth, Indiana, Marshall County REMC serves 7,334 consumers across 1,043 miles in six north Indiana counties.
• Southern Indiana Power received a $16 million loan to connect 600 consumers and build and upgrade a 98-mile line. This loan includes $1,087,286 in smart grid technologies. Headquartered in Tell City, Southern Indiana serves an average of 9,460 consumers across 1,673 lines in five southern Indiana counties.
The USDA’s Electric Loan Program can help finance wind, solar, and natural gas installations, as well as improve clean energy generation from coal-fired power plants. Local energy companies are also using the loans to invest in infrastructure to provide affordable electricity to millions of residential, commercial and agricultural consumers.
Rural Development provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunity, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of rural Americans. This aid supports infrastructure improvements; Business development; Housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed Internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/in for more information.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans in so many positive ways every day. Under the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, and building new to markets and income streams for farmers and producers who adopt climate-friendly food and forestry practices, make historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in rural America, and advocate for justice across the Department by removing systemic barriers and one for America build a more representative workforce. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.