WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a $1,579,000 loan to Fox Islands Electric Cooperative through USDA Rural Development’s Electric Program to support the communities on Vinalhaven and North Haven. Fox Islands Electric Cooperative will use the funds to improve five miles of electric line and make other system improvements. Fox Islands Electric Cooperative is a utility cooperative that provides electricity for the two islands.
“Investing in utilities for Maine’s island communities ensures hardworking people can keep the lights on and heat their homes, and it helps small business owners innovate and grow the economy,” Senators Collins and King said in a joint statement. “We applaud the USDA for supporting the Fox Islands Electric Co-op so it can improve and maintain the modern electric framework necessary for the people of Penobscot Bay.”
The Fox Islands Electric Cooperative was founded in 1974 and is owned by the communities on Vinalhaven and North Haven. With approximately 1,950 members, the cooperative leverages power from its community-owned wind farm on Vinalhaven and also purchases electricity for the islands’ grid via a 10-mile submarine power cable from the mainland.
USDA Rural Development programs provide loans and grants to assist economic expansion and job creation. Funds are directed towards infrastructure improvement, business development, homeownership, community services, public safety, and broadband access in rural areas across the country.