Mountain View Electric Association and Farmers Electric Power Cooperative are the latest WAPA customers to receive loans from the Rural Development program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Ann Hazlett made the announcement during a visit to the Central Iowa Power Cooperative, the generation and transmission utility for Farmers Electric.
Farmers Electric Cooperative in Greenfield, Iowa, is receiving a $1.4 million USDA loan to invest in smart grid projects. The co-op plans to install more than 5,800 single-phase meters and additional meter reading equipment in its west-central Iowa service area.
MVEA, headquartered in Limon, Colorado, will use the investment to build 197 miles of line and make improvements to another 197 miles and other parts of the system. The loan amount includes $2.6 million for smart grid projects. The utility serves nearly 50,000 consumers in a 6,055-square mile territory covering Arapahoe, Crowley, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Lincoln and Pueblo counties.
In total, the USDA is investing $309 million in 16 projects through its Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee program. It helps finance generation, transmission and distribution projects; system improvements; and energy conservation projects in communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
The current round of loans is funding infrastructure improvements for utilities in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Washington. MVEA and Farmers Electric are only the latest WAPA customers to access funding through the program to build and upgrade their infrastructure.
Most retail or power supply providers serving qualified rural areas may apply for a loan, including:
- State and local governmental entities
- Federally-recognized tribes
- Nonprofits including cooperatives and limited dividend or mutual associations
- For-profit businesses (must be a corporation or limited liability company)
Utilities may use the funds to finance maintenance, upgrades, expansions, facilities replacement, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. See the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations for additional guidance or contact your general field representative to learn more.