It was announced Monday that Socorro Electric Cooperative has been granted a $28 million loan to improve its service to members. According to a press release from the United States Department of Agriculture, SEC is receiving a $28 million loan to connect 485 consumers, build and improve 45 miles of distribution line, and build and improve 25 miles of line for the Magdalena Transmission Line Rebuild Project.
The loan includes $2.4 million in smart grid technologies, the USDA says.
Socorro Electric Cooperative serves nearly 13,000 consumers through 3,261 miles of distribution line and 42 miles of transmission line in Catron, Cibola, Sierra, Valencia, and Socorro counties.
Besides Socorro Electric, the members of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative is also benefitting according to the announcement.
Syncarpha Capital is a New York-based company that builds solar photovoltaic energy systems throughout the country. A $3.6 million investment by USDA will be used to develop a 3.12-megawatt solar photovoltaic farm in Taos County. Kit Carson Electric Cooperative will purchase the electricity to provide power to its customers.
Upon hearing about the two New Mexico electric projects being funded in Socorro and in Taos, USDA Rural Development State Director Blake Curtis said, “Funding the expansion of the electric service in Socorro and Taos demonstrates Rural Development’s commitment to providing reliable electric service for those living in rural New Mexico.”
USDA is providing loans and loan guarantees to rural electric cooperatives and utilities through the Electric Loan Program. The recipients will use the funds to build and improve 9,138 miles of electric transmission and distribution line, benefiting 1 million rural residents and businesses. The loans include nearly $386 million for investments in smart grid technology, which uses digital communications to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.
“Reliable and modern 21st-century infrastructure, including electric infrastructure and smart grid technologies, is a cornerstone for prosperity in rural America,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement. “Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building their futures.”
The investments announced today include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.