The Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative in northeast Kansas is one of many rural electric utilities in 18 states to receive loan guarantees from USDA Rural Development to make improvements in electric lines and transmission facilities and to reduce peak electric loads by deploying smart grid technologies.
USDA is investing a total of more than $420 million in rural electric infrastructure, with a goal of putting more than $250 million into smart grid technologies that help utilities better predict and respond to changes in supply and demand for power.
"USDA Rural Development provides critical funding to rural electric cooperatives that provide rural Kansans with affordable, reliable electricity," said USDA Rural Development State Director Patty Clark. "We will continue to partner with electric cooperatives in the state to improve the electric infrastructure throughout rural Kansas."
The Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative, Inc. received a $7.58 million USDA Rural Development loan. Part of the loan will be used to serve 375 new members and includes building and improving 100 miles of distribution line and making other system improvements. The loan amount includes $104,028 in smart grid projects, which will help record electrical information that can be used to reduce storm outage times and assist with system planning. Loan funds will also help with the continued installation of automatic metering infrastructure.
Steve Foss, General Manager for Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative said, "As Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative continues to upgrade its system, we are pleased USDA offers these lower interest loans to electric cooperatives. Since we are owned by those we serve, the money we save with a lower interest loan helps us keep our rates stable."
Funding is provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service. The loans help electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America's electric infrastructure. USDA Rural Development also supports energy conservation and renewable energy projects.
The following is a list of rural utilities that also received USDA funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan agreement.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.