HERMISTON — A $48.8 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help the Umatilla Electric Cooperative build 25 miles of new power lines, while improving another 41 miles of lines and investments in other “smart grid” projects.
One of the upcoming projects is a new power line from McNary to the Hermiston Butte substation, which will boost reliability for UEC and Hermiston Energy Services customers, according to a UEC spokesman.
The spokesman said the loan provides low-interest funding for the co-op to update and improve its 2,250-mile transmission system.
Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced the loan Monday.
“This is a smart investment in our infrastructure and our future,” said Merkley, who is the top Democrat on the Senate subcommittee that funds the USDA. “Ensuring rural cooperatives have the resources necessary to maintain modern and reliable electric infrastructure provides economic opportunity that rural communities across Oregon need to thrive.”
The Harney Electric Cooperative, based in Hines, also received an $11.7 million loan to build 53 miles of line, among other improvements.