U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith last week announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, has awarded loan funding totaling over $26 million for rural electric infrastructure improvements across Minnesota.
“These investments will help our rural electric providers better serve Minnesotans by adding connections, energizing additional miles of transmission lines, and providing for more reliable electric infrastructure across the state,” Klobuchar said. “Projects like these not only boost the economy, but also help to modernize our electric grid and support essential services throughout our state.”
“We need to strengthen rural Minnesota’s electric infrastructure because it’s vital to building a 21st century economy that works for everyone,” Smith said. “This investment in three electric cooperatives that serve Minnesota will connect our rural communities with the reliable electricity they need for businesses to grow, students to learn at school, hospitals to care for patients and airports to function safely. Looking forward, I’m going to keep working to help improve our electric grid and deploy more affordable, clean energy that’s good for jobs, our health and environment.”
The USDA Rural Development program approved a loan of $11,057,000 to North Star Electric Cooperative in Baudette; $7,000,000 to Redwood Electric Cooperative in Clements; and $8,072,000 to H-D Electric Cooperative in Clear Lake, S.D., that extends into Minnesota.
The investment of $11,057,000 awarded to North Star Electric Cooperative will fund 29 miles of new line and 66 miles of improvement line, while adding 357 new customers. This loan includes over $2 million for smart grid technologies. North Star serves an average of 6,549 consumers through 1,444 total miles of energized line in the Minnesota counties of Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Roseau and St. Louis.
The investment of $7,000,000 awarded to Redwood Electric Cooperative will fund 16 additional miles of distribution line, improve 41 miles of distribution line and add 72 new consumers. This loan includes $1,831,000 for smart grid technologies. Redwood Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Clements, Minnesota serves more than 4,400 residential and commercial consumers in three counties in Minnesota.
The investment of $8,072,000 awarded to H-D Electric Cooperative will connect 146 new consumers and build 32 new miles and improve 108 miles of distribution line. These funds will also invest over $474,000 in smart grid applications to enhance system resilience and reliability. H-D Electric, headquartered in Clear Lake, South Dakota provides electric service to approximately 3,600 consumers over 1,572 miles of line in South Dakota and Minnesota.