Klobuchar, Franken, Peterson Announce $8 Million to Improve Electric Infrastructure in Minnesota’s Red River Valley

Oct 22, 2014 Issues: Economy and Jobs

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken along with Representative Collin Peterson today announced that the Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association will receive a loan of $8 million through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service. The loan will help support efforts to build or improve 84 miles of electric distribution lines and fund smart grid projects.

“Reliable electrical service is something every Minnesotan should be able to access,” Klobuchar said. “This support will help Red River Valley Power expand its operations and help keep the lights on in countless farms, households, and small businesses.”

“Minnesota stands to benefit from a more efficient electricity delivery system that will lower consumers’ energy bills,” Franken said. “As Chairman of the Senate Energy Subcommittee, I’ve pressed to modernize the way electricity is delivered to our homes and businesses, including investments in smart grid technologies. This support for Red River Power will go a long way towards improving their system and reliability across Northwestern Minnesota.”

“Upgrading the power grid and diversifying energy portfolios will not only help rural electric utilities use energy more effectively, it will also bring jobs and increased economic opportunities to Minnesota’s rural communities,” Peterson said.

Klobuchar has long supported efforts to help increase access to electricity in rural communities. She has introduced a provision with Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) that would help keep energy affordable for rural communities in Minnesota by allowing rural electric providers to continue to use large, energy-efficient water heaters in ‘demand response’ programs.

Franken, who is the Chairman of the Senate Energy Subcommittee, has chaired a number of hearings to promote energy efficiency throughout the economy. He is sponsor and cosponsor of a number of energy efficiency bills, including Senator Hoeven's legislation to allow the continued use of large water heaters that are important to utilities and their consumers in Minnesota.  

Peterson, who serves as Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, has been a leader on working to improve the quality of life in rural communities and supportive of the work of rural electric cooperatives to expand and improve their services.