U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wisconsin Rural Development State Director Frank Frassetto announced that USDA is investing an additional $3.1 billion to build or improve rural electric infrastructure in 25 states and he highlighted a record level of funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 to upgrade infrastructure.
“Rural electric cooperatives and utilities are increasing their internal communications capabilities to improve the reliability and efficiency of the electric grid. This added communications capacity helps cooperatives and their partners expand broadband coverage as they leverage these USDA smart grid investments,” Frassetto said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, we have been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural Wisconsin in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Butter Solar will use a $23 million loan to partially finance the development of a 22.9-megawatt solar project at seven facilities in Wisconsin, two in Minnesota and one in Iowa. The facilities range from 0.6 to 5 megawatts. In Wisconsin, the solar facilities are located in Arcadia, Argyle, Cashton, Cumberland, Elroy, Fennimore and New Lisbon. The power produced from Butter Solar will be sold under a power purchase agreement to the Upper Midwest Municipal Energy Group (UMMEG). UMMEG is a municipal electric company serving 16 municipal utilities in the three states, all of which are wholesale customers of Dairyland Power Cooperative Inc, a current USDA borrower. Thirteen of UMMEG’s members are participating in the project to buy the power from Butter Solar.
St. Croix Electric Coop in Hammond will use a $10 million loan to connect 952 consumers and build 33 miles of line. This loan includes $721,000 in smart grid technologies. St. Croix serves an average of 11,000 members over 1,804 miles of line in four counties in western Wisconsin.