Investment will help cooperative build, update 228 miles of line, smart grid projects
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 22, 2014) – Owen Electric Cooperative Inc., which serves 57,710 customers, has received a $30 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one of eight rural electric cooperatives to receive such funding, Gov. Steve Beshear announced today.
“This loan guarantee to Owen Electric Cooperative will help the system build or improve 228 miles of line and make other system improvements,” Beshear said. “Such an investment will help the cooperative continue to provide reliable and affordable electric service for this area of north central Kentucky.”
More than $3.4 million of the loan will be used for smart grid projects. This will allow the cooperative to apply technologies that will help it better manage and improve operational efficiencies, particularly during peak demand time.
“Investing in the nation’s rural electric system helps ensure reliable and affordable electric service for people who live and work in rural America,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “America’s infrastructure must be modernized if we are to continue to create jobs, expand opportunity and be competitive economically in the world. Nearly $20 million of the $263 million I am announcing today will be devoted to smart grid technologies that will improve electric system infrastructure and help meet the electricity needs of rural consumers.”
Nationally, the USDA is investing $263.3 million in eight projects to improve the reliability of rural electric systems in eight states.
Owen Electric’s wholesale power is provided by East Kentucky Power Cooperative, which is owned by Owen Electric and seventeen other member cooperatives. Together they serve more than one million people in 89 Kentucky counties. East Kentucky Power owns and operates three coal-fired power plants and three combustion turbines.