BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The United States Department of Agriculture announced today that they are investing over $50 million into North Dakota’s rural electric grids, as well as those across South Dakota and Montana.

Through its Electric Loan Program, the USDA is investing in 64 projects across the United States, which will benefit a total of nearly two million rural people and businesses. This new series of investments also includes $613 million that can be used to help rural cooperatives and utilities with the upgrading and installation of smart technologies — including implementing new secure smart grids in underserved and unserved rural areas.

The following is a list of loans and funding provided to establishments and cooperatives in North Dakota:

  • Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative, which is headquartered in Flasher, will use a $33,000,000 loan (including $722,000 in smart grid technologies) to build and improve 2020 miles of power lines, connecting 1,041 consumers to their network. The cooperative currently serves roughly 10,000 consumers over 3,714 miles of line in six counties in North Dakota and one in South Dakota.
  • McLean Electric Cooperative Inc., which is headquartered in Garrison, will use a $15,000,000 loan (including $2,505,900 in smart grid technologies) to build and improve 196 miles of line, connecting 425 consumers to their network. The cooperative currently serves on average 4,151 consumers via 1,806 miles of line, which run through five counties in ND.
  • The Goldenwest Electric Cooperative will use a $3,000,000 loan (including $670,350 in smart grid technologies) to build and improve 34 miles of line, connecting 65 consumers. While Goldenwest is headquartered in Wibaux, Montana, it serves 1,610 consumers over 1,171 miles of line through three counties in North Dakota and three in Montana.

“Serving our most rural and remote communities with the most basic yet essential services and utilities comes with challenges, risks, and costs,” said USDA Rural State Development Director Erin Oban in a press release. “USDA Rural Development is in a unique position and has a long history of helping North Dakota overcome those barriers. With financing available through USDA Rural Development, North Dakota’s rural electric cooperatives can build, upgrade, and improve miles of electric transmission lines and install smart grid technologies to serve their members. The significant federal investments announced today in our co-ops and communities will ensure that more than 1,500 of our neighbors in 14 North Dakota counties can continue to access the affordable, reliable electricity that heats our homes on bitter cold days like this.”

In the coming months, more energy infrastructure funding has been promised by the USDA to help make energy more clean, affordable, and reliable for those who need it. To learn more about the USDA’s energy investments, visit their website.