DS&O Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Solomon was one of eight rural electric cooperatives in the country to receive loans from USDA to modernize and improve the reliability of its system. DS&O was awarded an $8,000,000 loan toward the coop's construction of a new headquarters building.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said USDA is investing $263.3 million to help modernize and improve the reliability of rural electric systems in eight states.
Nearly $20 million of the funding goes toward smart grid improvements. Smart grid refers to the application of technologies designed to modernize our nation's electric system. These technologies increase the reliability of electric power by helping utilities better manage the electric grid, such as during peak demand, to improve operational efficiencies.
The loans will build or improve more than 3,700 miles of line in rural areas. For example, the Southside Electric Cooperative in Crewe, Va., will receive a $40 million loan guarantee to build and improve more than 1,300 miles of line and make other system improvements. Sumter Electric Cooperative, in Sumterville, Fla., will build or improve 1,447 miles of line.
Other loan recipients were Kirkwood Meadows Public Utility in California, which got an $8 million loan to make transmission improvements; in Georgia, Planter Electric got $6.3 million and Altamaha Electric got a $23 million loan guarantee to build or improve 580 miles of line, including almost $3 million worth of smart grid projects.
Owen Electric in Kentucky and Indiana received a $30 million to build or improve 228 miles of line including $3.4 million for smart grid projects while North Carolina's Carteret-Craven Electric Membership Corp. was awarded $11 million for lime projects, including $5 million for smart grid projects.