WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced funding for projects to improve electric service in rural areas across 13 states, including more than $6 million in smart grid funding, which will increase access to information to better manage electricity use.

As part of this funding, the Georgia Transmission Corp., which serves customers in Alabama and Florida in addition to Georgia, will receive a USDA loan that includes more than $3 million for smart grid projects. The Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative in Kansas will receive a USDA loan that includes more than $192,000 for smart grid projects.

Smart grid technologies involve adding communication capabilities and control systems to the electrical grid that are intended to improve home energy management for the homeowner, provide greater demand control for the utility, and create a more reliable power grid overall. Smart grid technologies are also expected to better accommodate the use of renewable energy and all forms of on-site power production, such as fuel cells.

Publication date: 5/6/2013