ATLANTA — Georgia’s electric grid got a $90 million shot in the arm this week when the federal government released loans to the Georgia Transmission Corp.
The new, low-interest loan money goes to cover infrastructure improvements made last year, including 331 miles of new line, six new substations and $3 million specifically designated as “smart grid projects.”
“You get the money when the assets are up and running,” said Tom Parker, the corporation’s vice president for external affairs.
Government and industry have sought to install what’s being called smart-grid technology designed to automate processes that used to require lineman to operate manually. For instance, the corporation installed electronic switches and fault indicators so that technicians monitoring the lines in Tucker can reroute the flow of electricity around trouble spots in remote parts of the state without customers losing power.
“Our part of the smart grid is really focused on reliability and safety and keeping the lights on,” Parker said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the loans as part of the federal program for electric membership cooperatives like the 38 EMCs that jointly own Georgia Transmission.
“As part of President Obama’s plan to address infrastructure improvements, we will continue to fund projects that improve electric reliability in rural areas,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.