U.S.Department of Agriculture Rural Development Missouri Acting State Director D Clark Thomas announced the agency is investing $15 million to build and improve electric infrastructure in Missouri through its Electric Loan Program.
“For nearly 85 years—since the inception of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936—USDA has played a role in bringing electricity to rural areas,” said Acting State Director Thomas. “Through our partnership with rural electric cooperatives like Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association, and investments like the one announced today, USDA is ensuring cooperatives have the modern infrastructure needed to deliver affordable, reliable electricity to rural Missourians.”
Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association, headquartered in Rolla, Mo., serves approximately 30,000 customers through 5,700 miles of electric line in nine Missouri counties. Intercounty will use a $15 million loan to improve electric infrastructure by connecting 1,955 consumers and building and improving 136 miles of line. The investment also includes $432,000 in smart grid technologies, which use digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
Today’s announcement came as part of a larger statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack in which he said USDA is investing $598 million in rural electric loans to build or improve electric infrastructure in 11 states.
“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to bringing critical financial assistance to rural families and making significant investments in community infrastructure across rural America,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These USDA investments will bring affordable electric power to rural residents, Tribal communities, community facilities, schools, and medical institutions that perform critical services each day. Now is the time for our nation to make significant investments in infrastructure — roads, bridges, broadband, and energy — to improve quality of life and support good-paying jobs, transition to a clean energy economy, and keep the United States poised to lead the global economy.”
USDA’s Electric Loan Program helps finance wind, solar, and natural gas plants, as well as improvements to produce clean energy from coal-fired plants. Local utilities also use the loans to invest in infrastructure to deliver affordable power to millions of residential, commercial, and agricultural consumers.
Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance 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.