The Pueblo West, Colorado-based San Isabel Electric Association is receiving $15.8 million in federal funds to build 63 miles of power lines in southern Colorado.
The funding will additionally pay for improvements in lines equaling 143 miles.
That money is coming through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Electric Infrastructure Loan Program, which is designed to assist system improvement, energy conservation, transmission and distribution facility projects in communities with populations of 10,000 residents or less.
The program provides direct loans and loan guarantees for any number of rural electricity system projects.
Altogether, the USDA is funding up to $345 million for a variety of infrastructure projects, most of which this time around are located in the Midwest and South.
“Delivering reliable and affordable electricity to power rural America will help lay the groundwork for increased rural prosperity and economic opportunity,” Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue said in a statement announcing the funding.
Purdue added that the USDA is “partnering with rural electric utilities and cooperatives so they can continue to invest in infrastructure improvements to provide electric power to those who live and work in rural areas.”
The rural electric cooperative, San Isabel Electric Association, serves customers in Costilla, Custer, Huerfano, Las Animas, Otero, and Pueblo counties in south central Colorado.
The $15.8 million being sent to the association will include $752,000 to be used for smart grid projects.
By Garry Boulard
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