USDA loan helps Georgia improve its smart grid

Georgia Transmission Corporation received a $90 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve its electric grid. The low-interest loan money will provide funding for the project, which includes 331 miles of new line and six new substations. About $3 million of the loan will also be allocated to smart grid projects, the Newnan Times-Herald reported.

The smart grid technology will automate processes that would have normally required lineman to operate manually, the article stated. Installing electronic switches and fault indicators has been one update Georgia Transmission Corporation has already made to the grid. These updates gives technicians the ability to monitor the lines and reroute the flow of electricity around trouble spots, ensuring customers in remote parts of the state do not lose power.

"Our part of the smart grid is really focused on reliability and safety and keeping the lights on," said Tom Parker, vice president of external affairs for Georgia Transmission Corporation.

The USDA said it has provided funding for electric grid improvements in a dozen other states. About $280 million has been provided for rural electric infrastructure, the department said, with more than $6 million being allocated to smart grid projects.

More information on smart grid technology can be found at PennEnergy's research area.

Georgia Transmission Corporation received a $90 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve its electric grid.

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