Recently the USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, announced that Missouri and nine other states would be receiving a loan from the USDA to help continue to provide safe, reliable, and affordable electricity to rural residents, businesses, and institutions. Gascosage Electric Cooperative has been awarded $10.2 million to build or improve 50 miles of line and make system upgrades; more than $244,000 of the loan is for grid modernization.
Using part of the loan, Gascosage Electric Cooperative will implement Smart Grid with the installation of a Geographic Information System (GIS) that will provide more efficient and effective ways to manage field inventory of all electric components in the field. The GIS can be used to rapidly search for and locate customers, poles, transformers, and other assets in the cooperative’s outage management system to greatly increase responsiveness of line repair crews during outages.
There are many benefits to businesses and residents from grid modernization and installation of smart grid technology. Kristy Manning, Director of Missouri’s Division of Energy stated, “The loan provides improvements to create operating efficiencies for the cooperative that places downward pressure on cost and results in maintaining affordable services to its businesses and residents. Also, faster storm restoration ensures quicker recovery and gets businesses open sooner.”
The USDA loan to Gascosage Electric Cooperative coincides with the Missouri Comprehensive State Energy Plan (CSEP) which encourages all utilities to continue to investigate and invest in new technologies that improve the performance and capabilities of the distribution grid. The CSEP also calls for diversifying and promoting security in supply, promoting efficiency of use, and stimulating innovation, emerging technologies, and job creation.
For more information about the USDA loan click here.
If you would like more information on the Missouri Comprehensive State Energy Plan please visit energy.mo.gov.