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USDA Invests in Rural Electric Infrastructure, Grid Resilience
South Dakota Ag Connection - 11/09/2018

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett Thursday announced that USDA is investing $1.6 billion in 46 rural electric utility infrastructure projects to improve electric reliability and resilience in 24 states, including one project in South Dakota.

"Reliable and affordable power is an underpinning for economic development and quality of life," Hazlett said. "Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in building prosperity in rural communities through the sustainment and modernization of rural electric infrastructure."

The 46 projects announced today are being funded through USDA's Electric Program. These investments will help contribute to a stronger rural electric system by improving operations and reliability. USDA's funding will help build or improve 5,833 miles of line. It includes $307 million in smart grid technologies, which improve system operations and monitor grid security. These investments will benefit 7 million rural business and residential electric consumers across the country. South Dakota's project:

- Clay-Union Electric Corporation, based in Vermillion, will use a $7.67 million loan to build 27 miles of line, improve 60 miles and make other system improvements, including an investment of $67,000 in smart grid technologies. Clay-Union serves 3,665 residential and commercial consumers over 1,168 miles of line in southeastern South Dakota. Agriculture -- specifically beef, corn and soybeans -- is the major economic sector in the area.

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