Assistant to the Secretary of Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced that the USDA is investing $385 million to improve rural electric service in 13 states. “Reliable and affordable electricity is undeniably a necessity in today’s world,” Hazlett says. “The USDA is committed to being a strong partner in keeping our rural communities connected to this essential infrastructure. USDA is making the investments through the Electric Infrastructure Loan Program.
In Indiana, Marshall County REMC is receiving a $9.5 million loan to build 11 miles of line, improve 59 miles and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $5,130,130 for smart grid projects. Marshall County provides electric service to 7,200 customers over 1,070 miles of line in Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall, St. Joseph and Starke counties in northern Indiana. The economy of the service territory has historically relied on agriculture and agriculture-related industries.
USDA says the project will help improve the quality of life for rural residents in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. The investments that USDA is making include nearly $43.7 million for smart grid technology to increase system efficiencies. Smart grid includes computer applications, two-way machine-to-machine communications, as well as other tools designed to increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power systems.