Smart grid funding for rural coops in U.S.


Tom Vilsack,
U.S. Agriculture
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 7, 2011 – As part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) award of funding to rural electric cooperatives for the expansion of their transmission and distribution systems, five coops have received funding totaling almost $14 million for smart grid technologies.

The utilities are:

  • Navopache Electric Cooperative, Inc., which services eastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico is receiving $5.8 million for smart grid technologies
  • Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association in Colorado is receiving $6.7 million for smart grid technologies
  • Southern Pioneer Electric Company in Kansas is receiving $825,000 for smart grid technologies
  • Beltrami Electric Company in Minnesota is receiving $185,500 for smart grid technologies
  • Dakota Energy Cooperative, Inc. in South Dakota is receiving $175,904 for smart grid technologies.

The funds are part of a total funding of $376 million that is being made to the ten utilities from the USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service, which assists electric utilities with upgrades, expansion, maintenance and replacement of rural America’s electric infrastructure.

The other five utilities that have been awarded funding are Carroll Electric Cooperative Corporation (Arkansas, Missouri), Georgia Transmission Corporation (Georgia, Alabama, Florida), Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (Maryland), Ozark Electric Cooperative (Missouri), and Grundy Electric Cooperative (Missouri, Iowa).

“This funding will lay the foundation for sustainable economic growth by out-building and out-innovating our competition to build a more robust rural economy,” said Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack. “The investments rural electric cooperatives make in infrastructure and smart grid technology highlight the importance of innovation in ensuring a constant and affordable supply of electricity.”

The funding also covers almost 20,000 new rural connections, in addition to other system improvements.