USDA invests $23.1M in rural electric infrastructure for more than 13,500 SD consumers

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Farm Forum

HURON – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $345.5 million in 20 infrastructure projects to improve rural electric service in 14 states. Included in this announcement are two projects for South Dakota totaling $23.1 million.

“Delivering reliable and affordable electricity to power rural America will help lay the groundwork for increased rural prosperity and economic opportunity,” Secretary Perdue said. “USDA is partnering with rural electric utilities and cooperatives so they can continue to invest in infrastructure improvements to provide electric power to those who live and work in rural areas.”

USDA is making the investments through the Electric Infrastructure Loan Program. It helps finance generation, transmission and distribution projects; system improvements; and energy conservation projects in communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

The loans include $7.9 million for smart grid technology. This includes computer applications, two-way communications, geospatial information systems and other tools to increase the reliability and efficiency of electric power systems. South Dakota projects receiving USDA funding:

  • Moreau Grand Electric Cooperative is receiving a $9,000,000 loan to build 52 miles of line, improve 50 miles and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $190,000 for smart grid projects. Moreau Grand is headquartered in Timber Lake. It provides electric service to more than 6,900 consumers over 3,887 miles of line in Carson, Dewy, Meade, Perkins and Ziebach counties in the north central South Dakota. Moreau’s service area is located within the boundaries of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The area’s economy is based on various governmental activities and agriculture, primarily livestock feed production.
  • Lacreek Electric Association will use $14,195,000 to build 66 miles of line, improve 374 miles and make other system improvements. The loan amount includes $138,697 for smart grid projects. Lacreek is located in Martin. It provides electric service to 6,680 consumers over 3,178 miles of line in Bennett, Jackson, Mellette, Shannon and Todd counties in southwestern South Dakota and Cherry county in Nebraska. The economy of the service area is primarily agricultural, with ranching and grain production being the main activity.

USDA is announcing investments today in rural communities in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wisconsin. They underscore Secretary Perdue’s priority to promote rural economic development by centering around three principles: infrastructure, partnerships and innovation.