Brad Finstad, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rural development state director for Minnesota, recently announced that the USDA is investing more than $26 million in electric cooperatives in an effort to improve rural electric infrastructure, and that list includes the Redwood Electric Cooperative.

“Investing in modern electric infrastructure is vital to Minnesota’s rural communities, as these improvements pave the way for economic opportunity and enhance the quality of life for residents,” said Finstad. 

The projects are being funded through USDA’s electric loan program.

The Redwood Electric Cooperative will use a $7 million loan to build and improve 57 miles of distribution line and add 72 customers. The loan includes $1,831,000 for smart grid technologies.

Redwood Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Clements, serves more than 4,400 residential and commercial consumers in three counties in Minnesota.

Finstad’s announcement is in coordination with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s recent announcement that the USDA is investing $1.4 billion in projects to build and improve rural electric infrastructure in 21 states.

The loans include $255.8 million for investments in smart grid infrastructure that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in electricity usage.

The USDA rural development program 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.

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn.