Some southwest Oklahomans will be among those benefiting from the more than $398 million in USDA loans to improve rural electric service.
The Agriculture Department announced the $398.5 million in loans are being made to rural electric providers in 13 states, according to Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett.
The USDA investments are made under the Electric Infrastructure Loan Program. The Cotton Electric Cooperative which serves southwest Oklahoma received a loan totaling $36,212,000.
The money will add 1,344 consumers, build 154 miles of line and improve 91 miles and make other system improvements. The loan amount also includes $1,261,200 for smart grid projects.
Headquartered in Walters, Cotton Electric provides service to an average of 22,104 customers over 5,170 total miles of line in Caddo, Carter, Comanche, Cotton, Grady, Jefferson, Stephens and Tillman counties.
Nearly $89 million in loans to two rural cooperatives in Arkansas were announced. One to Stuttgart Solar will pay for construction of a solar photovoltaic farm by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC which is the parent company of Stuttgart Solar LLC. The farm is also constructed and sits on 475 acres of land located six miles southeast of Stuttgart which is southeast of Little Rock.
More than $32 million in loans went to rural cooperatives in Colorado. Other loans were made to rural electric services in Indiana,Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
The Cotton Electric loan was one of the three largest loans. A $50 million loan was made to a rural cooperative in North Carolina and a nearly $48 million loan went to a Virginia service company.