President Ellen Johnson of Liberia

Liberia Launches US$550M Rural Energy Master Plan

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Monrovia – The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy in efforts to enhance the strength of the Liberia Electricity Cooperation (LEC) has launched a program codename, ‘Growing the National Grid Program’ (GTG).

The GTG Program has a total investment of US$550 Million and will enable the electrification of 164, 000 homes for 830,000 people and the addition of 100 MW of renewable based generation to the National Grid.

The GTG Program investment will occur mostly in Phase 2 and 3 where most clients will be connected. Currently, except for generation, most of Phase 1 is funded with total secured funding estimated to be US$550 Million in several on-going projects, notably the Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone & Guinea Interconnection project (CLSG) related electrification and grid extension around Monrovia.

During the launch of the Ministry’s rural energy Strategy and Master Plan in Monrovia, the Ministry disclosed that the GTG Program is composed of four main initiatives.

Speaking at the launch of the master plan, the Director of Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), Augustus Goanue said in line with the Sustainable Energy for All initiative and the Sustainable Development Goals, Liberia aims to achieve the Electrification rate for the population outside of Monrovia of 10% in 2020, 20% in 2025 and 35% in 2030.

“We intend to electrify outside of Monrovia more than 65, 000 customers already by 2020, 140, 000 by 2025 and 265, 000 by 2035.”

“Electrify at least 2, 000 settlements with grid infra-structure (national, decentralized or mini grids) connecting at least 50% of those settlement’s population by 2030,” he noted.

He said Phase one of the program is the Monrovia corridors electrification initiative, the objective of this initiative is to promote the extension of Monrovia’s existing network to the West, North and East of the Capital.

According to him six projects are to be implemented regarding the transmission network and major cities electrification, as well as rural distribution, in the three mentioned regions.

Phase two of the project is Gbarnga corridors electrification initiative, the objective of this Initiative the ministry says is to promote the extension of the national network from the future substation of Gbarnga, which due to its location presents a strategic point for the future grid expansion.

It is located near a proposed future switching station of the CLSG and can allow the extension of the grid to support the densification of distribution in Nimba County and, in the long term, the interconnection of the Lofa and Zwedru Decentralized grids to the National Grid.

Goanue noted that the CLSG electrification initiative is to promote the extension of the national network from the future substations of the CLSG system, and from the power line itself, since it is planned for distribution through its shield wires.

He said four projects are to be implemented, mainly regarding client connection and rural grid extension in the counties of Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa and Grand Cape Mount.

He furthered that GTG phase four objectives is to launch the procurement of renewable on-grid generation based on solar, biomass or mini-hydro.

Also speaking at the program, the European Union Chargé d’Affaires, Mrs. Emma Sundblad, particularly welcomed the definition of clear, quantifiable targets in three key areas: Energy Access; Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency.

She also congratulated the RREA on the identification of concrete programs and projects to be implemented under a comprehensive framework and praised the Government of Liberia for prioritizing access to energy for all parts of Liberia.

Mrs. Sundblad said – “The Master Plan constitutes an excellent opportunity for donors to organize and fund projects according to a common framework, avoiding scattered initiatives with limited impact.

The European Union will be working with the Government of Liberia to identify how we can use our own funding for energy infrastructure to support this Energy Strategy.”

Development of the Rural and Renewable Energy Strategy and Master Plan was funded under the European Union and World Bank project for Support to the Rural and Renewable Energy Agency.

She disclosed that under the European Union’s National Indicative Programme (NIP) for 2014-2020, a total of EUR 100 million (approximately US$113 million) has been allocated for projects and programs in the energy sector, with rural electrification as one of the priorities for the EUR 45 million (approximately US$50 million) yet to be committed to specific projects.

She noted that all County capitals will be already electrified before 2025,” Electrification of County Capitals either through the National Grid, Decentralized Grids or Transitional Mini-Grids will be a priority of the Government,

All Health facilities and Secondary schools electrified already before 2025, we intend to bring electricity to all health facilities and all secondary schools in Liberia either through grid-based electrification or through 100% solar based individual solutions,” she noted.

Culled from FrontpageAfrica.com

Report by Edwin G. Genoway, Jr – edwin.genoway@frontpageonline.com

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