(NAFB)--U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced funding for rural electric projects in seven states to provide reliable, affordable electricity for rural residents. According to Vilsack - funding for rural electric utilities is a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s continuing effort to develop a vibrant rural economy. He says it’s also part of the Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to support development of energy from a variety of renewable resources. Vilsack says the Department’s support of the deployment of smart grid technologies by rural electric utilities will increase efficiencies, reliability and bring more jobs to rural America. Since 2011 - Rural Utilities Service borrowers have used USDA funding to invest nearly 464-million dollars in smart grid improvements.
According to USDA - department support for rural electric utilities benefits an average of 8.6-million rural electric consumers each year. Wednesday’s announcement includes more than 188-million dollars in loan guarantees to upgrade rural electric infrastructure - including more than 18-million dollars in smart grid funding