Press Release

CLSG project building hope for thousands in Nzerekore

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A population of more than 400,000 people is eager to receive stable and affordable electricity in Guinea’s second largest city, Nzérékoré, the Governor of Nzerekore has disclosed.

General Mohamed Ghare told the visiting General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG, Mohammed M. Sherif, who paid a courtesy call on his office Friday, January 8, 2021, that Nzerekore, being a commercial center in the southeast of the country can’t afford to remain in darkness or continue to struggle for power supply over the years.

The top Guinean official said the advent of the CLSG interconnection project to his region is a remarkable gift from the Almighty. “We are excited and eager to see lights in our streets and homes, hospitals and schools,” the Governor said.

Governor Ghare hailed ECOWAS for launching the Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea interconnection project that will boost economic activities in the Mano River basin. “No development is achieved without the presence of reliable electricity, so the CLSG project will provide us the opportunity to development our country and boost serious economic activities here.”

The Guinean official furthered that the CLSG energy project will be affordable and will light up several households as well as neighborhoods including schools and hospitals to the delight of thousands of residents who are waiting patiently. He added that the CLSG project is building confidence in the business communities across the region.

The Government, accompanied by the Prefet of Nzerekore joined the General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG on tour of the Nzerekore substation where intensive civil works and other construction activities are ongoing.

Board Chair, GM recognize CLSG project stakeholders

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The General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG hails the Chairman and members of the Board of Directors for their invaluable support and leadership in making the delivery of the reliable and sustainable electricity to the people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, a reality.

In his closing remarks at the 23rd Board meeting on Monday, December 8, 2020, Mr. Mohammed M. Sherif also recognized the unwavering supports of the donors including the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank and KfW and the governments and people of the CLSG countries. “We are grateful,” Sherif lauded.

Also recognizing the diligence of his TRANSCO CLSG team, Mr, Sherif extended his profound thanks and appreciation for their hard work, resilience, commitment, and passion that have made it possible to achieve the key deliverables over the years on the project implementation and institutional functions. He’s very optimistic that the project would be delivered shortly. “I know I can always count on you,” he stressed.

In another development, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of TRANSCO CLSG, Mr. Amidou Traore has reaffirmed the Board’s continuous commitment to the CLSG project. “The Board is fully with the TRANSCO CLSG management,” he reassured.

Mr. Traore said despite the challenges in the project implementation, he is hopeful that during the first quarters of 2021, everything will be set as TRANSCO CLSG commissions the line. “Let’s keep on working together to get all the necessary means in place to deliver this project,” he urged TRANSCO CLSG and all key stakeholders.

He praised the Management of TRANSCO CLSG for achieving key milestones that have pushed the project forward. He credited the astute leadership of Mr. Sherif and his team for the progress. “The intervention of the General Manager and his team got us to where we are today. The people have been waiting for years so we are going to make sure the CLSG project moves towards commissioning soon.”

Mr. Traore also commended the donors and CLSG countries for their unwavering efforts in making the CLSG project a reality.

GM Sherif outlines top priorities for 2021

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TRANSCO CLSG’s top priority in 2021 is to energize the CLSG interconnection line, begin commercial operations in February 2021, and deliver electricity to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea during the year, the General Manager has disclosed.

Mr. Mohammed M. Sherif explained that significant progress has been made in the negotiations of the revised Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and the Transmission Service Agreements (TSAs) with CLSG member countries and is confident that they will be endorsed and signed before the end of January 2021. “Given our target to begin commercial operations in February 2021, Management solicit the support of members of the Board, utilities and CLSG countries to ensure that this tight deadline is achieved.”

In his report to the Board of Directors on Monday, December 8, 2020, Mr. Sherif said TRANSCO CLSG has signed the contract for the temporary (Operations and Maintenance (O&M) operator with the CIE, an Ivorian Electricity Company (COMPAGNIE IVOIRIENNE D’ELECTRICITE), covering the transmission line section from Man to Monrovia while the tender process to recruit the permanent O&M operator is on course.

He said the contract became effective on November 10, 2020 (signed on October 7, 2020) and that the O&M personnel will be deployed by December 15, 2020 as arranged with the management following a joint assessment of the works on the fields.

“We are currently negotiating with CIE to extend their scope to cover the line section from Monrovia to Bumbuna in Sierra Leone. This will enable Management of TRANSCO CLSG to estimate load flows based upon firm commitments, complete the update of the Business Plan and Financial Model, and submit the final report to the Board for approval in March 2021.”

Mr. Sherif furthered that TRANSCO CLSG has plan to conclude negotiations with CIE to extend their assignment to include the section from Monrovia to Bumbuna by end of December 2020 and recruit the permanent O & M (Operations and Maintenance) operator by June 2021.

He said with the support of the Board, Management will also continue to engage the governments of the CLSG countries and donors to mobilize the additional funds required to fill the gap for 2021-2023.

 

Covid-19 hampering CLSG project commissioning – GM discloses

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The Covid-19 pandemic continues to hamper TRANSCO CLSG’s progress to begin commercial operations, the General Manager has revealed.

However, Mr. Mohammed M. Sherif assured that despite these challenges, the project has achieved a key milestone including the completion of construction works for the entire transmission line segment from Man to Monrovia.

Mr. Sherif disclosed that the overall project progress rate is estimated at 89% as at the end of November 2020. To this end, the revised commissioning projection is scheduled to commence in January 2021.

In his report to the Board of Directors at its 23rd meeting in Abidjan on Monday, December 8, 2020, Mr. Mohammed Sherif, who addressed the meeting virtually disclosed that the Management of TRANSCO CLSG had no choice but to push back the start of commercial operations from December 2020 to February 2021.

“Critical works to connect the CLSG substation with the existing substation at Mount Coffee were delayed as experts from China were not able to arrive on site as planned,” the General Manager explained.

He informed the Board that full connection with Cote d’Ivoire network at Man substation will be done in the coming week once the requested outage is granted by the Power Utility.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Board Mr. Amidou Traore thanked the Management of TRANSCO CLSG for making enormous progress in the project implementation, despite serious challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic. “I am impressed with the report. It is precise and clear. Thank you for the achievement so far and we look towards the commissioning very soon.”

 

TRANSCO CLSG Board confirms new member

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The Board of Director of TRANSCO CLSG has confirmed Mr. El Hadji Abdou Sakho as an independent member of the Board representing francophone West Africa. He replaces the late Seydina Issa Kane of Senegal, who died last December 2019 following a period of protracted illness.

During its 23rd meeting on Monday, December 8, 2020, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Amidou Traore welcomed the newest member, also a Senegalese, and challenged him to be strong and unwavering in supporting the implementation of the CLSG project. “We congratulate you and welcome you on board. All of us agreed that you join us based on our conviction that you will bring value to the TRANSCO CLSG.”

The General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG, Mohammed M. Sherif, addressing the meeting virtually, also congratulated Mr. Sakho, on his appointment as an independent member of the Board for francophone West Africa. “I have no doubts that your extensive experience in the region will be invaluable to the Board as we endeavor to deliver on our goal to deliver reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity to our beloved CLSG countries and beyond.”

In response, Mr. Sahko who spoke via Zoom said he was delighted to work with the team of TRANSCO CLSG. “To have been given the opportunity by WAPP (West African Power Pool) to serve in this capacity. I thank you for welcoming me on the team.”

He promised to support the works of the Board as well as TRANSCO CLSG management to ensure reliable and sustainable electricity is delivered. “I will help support the short- and long-term activities of TRANSCO CLSG to ensure our people get electricity. I will work diligently to improve the access condition of our population to energy.”

 

President Weah reaffirms commitment to CLSG project

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A 15-min video, documenting 87 percent progress in the implementation of the CLSG interconnection project has got authorities in Liberia pumped up as they reaffirmed total commitment to the project.

“This is great news for Liberia,” exclaimed Liberia’s Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, who watched the short documentary at the TRANSCO CLSG’s Country Office in Congo Town, Monrovia during a meeting with TRANSCO CLSG General Manager recently.

“Electricity is one of our priorities under our development agenda,” an elated Minister Tweah asserted.

The Liberian government, through the office of the Finance Minister has been very supportive of the CLSG project as Liberia continues to fulfil its financial obligations to the project.

Following the Congo Town meeting, the General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG met with His Excellency, President George Weah where he briefed the Liberian leader on the progress made in the CLSG project implementation. “We will begin to commission the line in December 2020,” Mr. Mohammed M. Sherif informed the President, who looked excited. Mr. Sherif said TRANSCO CLSG will begin to energize the transmission line in Liberia and into Sierra Leone in December 2020.

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Pres. Weah

The TRANSCO CLSG boss showcased the video that captivated the full attention of the Liberian leader, and two of his top cabinet ministers, including the Minister of Finance, Samuel Tweah and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill.

Following Mr. Sherif’s presentation of the high gains in the CLSG project implementation, the President expressed delight that the project has reached such a remarkable milestone. He recalled the project at the stage of documentation when he served as a Senator and member of the senate standing committee on ECOWAS.

In a country undergoing reconstruction, the Liberian leader has made access to energy for all Liberians a credo. President Weah underlined the urgent need for stable and reliable electricity in Liberia. He expressed his happiness for the ongoing CLSG interconnection project which interconnects the electric grid of Cote d’Ivoire to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The height of the President’s enthusiasm was that commissioning of the line will be possible in December 2020 and that the villages and towns along the CLSG line will be electrified directly from the line through the shield wire system.

Meanwhile, the General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG is urging the government of Liberia to engage the donor partners, especially the World Bank to prioritize the expansion of the national network, not only for the capitol of Monrovia but also for the provincial cities and towns around the CLSG substations. He informed President Weah about the strategic location of the Botota Substation, which will cover the Southeast and the Northwestern parts of Liberia.

The General Manager thanked President Weah and the government of Liberia for taking the lead in the implementation of the CLSG project by the timely approvals of relevant documents and the issuance of permits, passes, customs clearance, etc. He recalled Liberia was at the bottom of the implementation trail from the beginning of the project but has since surpassed other CLSG member countries in fulfilling its obligations to the project implementation.

Mr. Sherif called on the Weah Administration to ensure that the outstanding requirements are met in time in the wake of the schedule for commission, such as the signing of the Power Purchase Agreement, (PPA), TSA, etc. by the national utility.

The West African Interconnection Project between Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG Project) is expected to strengthen energy trade between these countries.

 

TRANSCO CLSG building capacity of EPA, FDA, LEC

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As part of the implementation of the CLSG Project’s Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) activities, TRANSCO CLSG is holding a weeklong training workshop to build the capacity of key actors in the energy and environmental sectors.

The training workshop, which began on Monday, October 5, 2020 is being held in Monrovia, with Dr. Koffa T. Morris, Liberian Environmentalist and Disaster Management Expert as the Chief Facilitator.

In consistent with a request made by CLSG countries, TRANSCO CLSG and the Donors approved the training workshop for the key actors including the Environmental and Protection Agency (EPA), Forestry Development Agency (FAD) and Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) on the monitoring of Health, Safety and Environmental Management in Projects and Programs.

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The training aims to enable participants achieve the following objectives:

  • Acquire the necessary skills for the preparation, the approval and the implementation of the ESIA, ESMP and Construction ESMP for a project or program;
  • Acquire the necessary skills for the Management and the Monitoring of the Environmental, Hygiene, Health, Safety component during the implementation of the project or the program;
  • Develop and improve knowledge of International and Donors Environmental Policies, Procedures and standards (World Bank, AfDB, Kf’vy and EIB);
  • Acquire the necessary skills for the Management and the Monitoring of the Environmental, Hygiene, Health and Safety Component during the implementation of the transmission line project or program.

The General Manager of TRANSCO CLSG, Mohammed M. Sherif is optimistic that following the capacity building workshop, there will be an enhanced collaboration among government institutions and a robust monitoring of environmental health and safety component of the CLSG project by the EPA.

 

TRANSCO CLSG begins commissioning December 2020

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TRANSCO CLSG will begin the phase commissioning of the CLSG interconnection power supply to Liberia and Sierra Leone in December 2020, the General Manager has assured. Mr. Mohammed M. Sherif reiterated that the CLSG interconnection project has achieved 87 percent rate and that more progress is being made on construction sites.

During a high-level meeting with the Minister of Energy of Sierra Leone and the country’s key actors in the energy sector, including representatives of the Ministry of Finance, EDSA and EGTC as well as senior staff of the Ministry of Energy on Monday, October 5, 2020, Mr. Mohammed M. Sherif assured the government and people of Sierra Leone that the Kenema substation will be energized.

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He disclosed that the substations in Yekepa, Buchanan and Mano in Liberia, as well as the substations in Kenema, Bikongor and Bumbuna in Sierra Leone would be commissioned in December 2020.

The General Manager commended the Minister Alhaji Kanja Sesay for his unflinching support to the ongoing CLSG project. He said that the firm commitment exhibited by the government through the Minister Sesay puts Sierra Leone in the lead in terms of project implementation effectiveness. Mr. Sherif noted that the Ministry of Finance of Sierra Leone has been very supportive to the ongoing project.

The General Manager pointed out some of the setbacks in the CLSG project implementation including the coronavirus pandemic which derailed the swift implementation of the project. He pondered whether the government of Sierra Leone is prepared to receive and distribute the power supply when the electricity is delivered.

“Do you have the needed capacity to absorb the CLSG electricity?” the General Manager asked.

Mr. Sherif encouraged the government of Sierra Leone to get a fair commitment to conclude the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) on time so that the intake of the 27MW of electricity supply from TRANSCO CLSG would be materialized.

Meanwhile, Minister Sesay has set up a robust technical team at his Ministry headed by a veteran in the energy sector to look into the pre and post commissioning activities and to make sure the process is unhindered. He reiterated his country’s firm commitment to commission the CLSG Interconnection Power Supply to electrify Bo and Kenema respectively come December 2020.

Minister Kanja Sesay urged his technical team to come up with a plan that will ensure the country’s full preparedness to utilize the CLSG power supply. He expressed his anticipation for the commissioning of the CLSG power supply to electrify Bo and Kenema in December 2020.

Minister Sesay explained that H E. President Maada Bio is eager to electrify the country and that the CLSG power supply would be effective for the people of Bo and Kenema respectively. He thanked the management of TRANSCO CLSG for their steadfastness on the ongoing project.

The Financial Secretary representing the Ministry of Finance, Sahr Jusu called on the Ministry of Energy to work expeditiously and come up with a plan that will speed up government’s own commitment to funding the ongoing project.

According to him, he held discussions with the energy ministry, EDSA and EGTC to craft a plan that is required to get the 161-transmission line energized to supply electricity across the country. He assured Minister Kanja Sesay and the TRANSCO CLSG delegation that he would approve the disbursement of the initial $750,000US to the Ministry of Energy as part of government’s own commitment to fund the ongoing project.

 

TRANSCO CLSG addresses claims in the line corridor

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TRANSCO CLSG has been addressing numerous claims received from a cross-section of persons affected by the project (PAPs) in Nimba County, who complained they were not compensated for their farms within the transmission line two corridor that is being constructed by EPC contractors, Bouygues.

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Upon receipt of the claims, TRANSCO CLSG swiftly sent a verification team headed by its Social Safeguard Assistant, Germain Paye on September 14, 2020 with the objective to verify the claims and seek resolution.

Meanwhile, the claims verification team carried out its mandate within the Bouygues line 2 from Yekepa substation in Nimba County to the Guinea border. The mission concluded its work on Saturday, October 3, 2020. “Mission was successful,” Paye said.

According to him, most of the reported claims could not be verified because the farms in question were not found. He said a total of 215 claims that were reported, only 10 farms were found to be legit. The verification process was carried out along with the full participation of the claimers, the local administrative and traditional authorities of Nimba County.