Funding & Incentives
- Category: Funding & Incentives
11 Sep 2012
- Published on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 10:14
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Following last month’s announcement of a fund for rural smart grid technology projects (see related story), the United States Agriculture Department has announced that they have reached its $250 million goal.
Nine rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 10 states will be receiving the remaining $27 million in funding via loan guarantees to make improvements to generation and transmission facilities and implement smart grid technologies. The loan guarantees are now at $269 million.
"Grid modernization and deployment of 'smart grid' technology will increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power generation," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Providing reliable, affordable electrical service contributes to stronger rural economies and is the backbone for a prosperous rural America.”
The funding is part of President Barack Obama’s “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future,” by way of a framework for a modernized electric system. The framework lays out a number of public and private initiatives, including the aforementioned funding.
The technologies will facilitate the integration of renewable sources of electricity into the grid, help avoid blackouts and restore power quicker when outages occur, and reduce the need for new power plants, according to the press release.
“Smart grid technologies also provide a foundation for innovation by entrepreneurs and others who can develop tools to empower consumers and help them make informed decisions,” the press release continued.
One recipient, Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation in North Carolina, received a $30 million guaranteed loan to extend its system by 52 miles and help provide service to about 1,000 new member consumers. Capacity will be increased to support 100 current consumers, and the reliability of about 40 miles of power lines will be improved.
Piedmont also installed a new automated meter system with funds from a previous loan and will invest approximately $150,000 of the funds from this new loan on new AMI meters for the 1,000 new member consumers.
Two more utilities in North Carolina will be receiving loan guarantees as well, with Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation netting a $21,500,000 loan and Edgecombe-Martin County Electric Membership Corporation qualified for a $6.4 million loan. – EcoSeed Staff