Minnkota Power Cooperative receives $80 million infrastructure loan
According to a release from Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, the $80.5 million loan will be used to finance generation and transmission system improvement projects, with the goal of improving services and enhancing reliability across Minnkota’s system.
Minnkota Power Cooperative has received a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan totaling more than $80 million.
According to a release from Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., the loan – officially $80,560,000 – will be used to finance generation and transmission system improvement projects, with the goal of improving services and enhancing reliability across Minnkota’s system. The funds come as part of an investment by USDA that spans 11 states. As an electric cooperative, Minnkota is eligible for low-interest loans through the USDA. The loan carries a term of 35 years.
“We have 50-plus-year-old infrastructure in certain parts of our system that are nearing the end of their useful life,” said Ben Fladhammer, Minnkota’s communications manager. “We're going in and upgrading, rebuilding and doing other various improvement projects out there.”
According to Fladhammer, there are a total of 98 projects that will be funded by the loan. While Minnkota is building new infrastructure, including a substation at the very south end of Grand Forks, most of those projects revolve around rebuilds of some of the company’s 255 substations, and nearly 3,400 miles of power lines.
The $80 million loan is not the largest Minnkota has received, Fladhammer said, and is necessary to address aging infrastructure issues in the “capital intensive” industry.
Grand Forks-based Minnkota Power Cooperative provides wholesale electric power to 11 distribution cooperatives that serve nearly 137,000 consumer accounts. Those distribution cooperatives cover a 34,500 square-mile area located in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.