$44 Million Loan Includes Investment in Smart Grid Technology
WILTON, Iowa, July 17, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was at the Eastern Iowa Light & Power Cooperative's headquarters in Wilton, Iowa, to announce a $44 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) electric loan for the improvement of nearly 560 km of electric distribution lines throughout eastern Iowa.
The $44 million loan to Eastern Iowa Light & Power Cooperative is the largest electric distribution loan ever granted by USDA's Rural Utilities Services in Iowa. Along with the electric cooperative it will apply its four-year construction and system-improvement plan.
The loan includes $580,000 for the costs of smart-grid technology and other improvements such as 60 new substation control buildings that will protect the new equipment and technologies, the installation of automated substation re-closers, or large circuit breakers. The latter can be controlled remotely which enables turning off power during storms and new advanced metering infrastructure for system users.
Smart grid enhances the reliability of electric power, since it assists utilities to better manage the electric grid when improving operational efficiencies. The smart grid includes metering, substation automation, computer applications, two-way communications, geospatial information systems and other system improvements.