Mount Coffee substation constructed and energized by TRANSCO CLSG

Liberia prepares to connect to the CLSG grid

Liberia has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the world, with only about fewer households connected to the national grid. Less than 15 percent of the population in Monrovia has regular access to electricity and it’s even troubling for the population in the rural areas.

However, the country’s unwavering quest to connect to the West African Power Pool TRANSCO CLSG interconnection line for stable and affordable electricity for its citizens will soon become a reality as the country prepares to sign all commercial framework documents with Cote d’Ivoire, which supplies the electricity, and TRANSCO CLSG, which transports the energy.

The Government of Liberia is working closely with TRANSCO CLSG, development partners and Cote d’Ivoire to undertake measures to rebuild the country’s electricity infrastructure and improve access to electricity for its population.

 Minister Murray – Photo by Sidiki Trawally

Liberia’s economy is severely constrained by a lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity. This makes electricity the single largest component of operational expenses in Liberia for businesses. The government has identified the lack of reliable and affordable electricity, along with a poor road network, as binding constraints to the country’s growth.

The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), a state utility company continues to restore limited electricity to parts of Monrovia in recent times, particularly to many larger facilities such as hotels, restaurants, and office buildings, which normally depend on the use of privately-owned generators to supply electricity to their premises.

The Mount Coffee hydro plant could enable Liberia to export electricity to the West Africa Power Pool project (WAPP) inter-connection grid, which has been constructed and ready to electrify the country once the government concludes the signing of commercial frameworks papers with Cote d’Ivoire and TRANSCO CLSG, which is already connecting the towns in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The TRANSCO CLSG is a multi-donor-supported project intended to increase electricity access for the rural communities in border regions of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.  Some major population centers along Liberia’s borders, such as the city of Ganta and its surrounding towns, are already electrified by the WAPP cross-border project.

Liberia is yet to sign the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and the Transmission Service Agreement (TSA), but according to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Mr. Gesler Murray, the government is doing everything to ensure these documents are signed within 60 days to improve people’s access to affordable and reliable electricity.

Minister Murray attended the high-level Steering Committee meeting of TRANSCO CLSG project in Abidjan where he held fruitful discussions with Ivorian authorities including his counterpart of Cote d’Ivoire and TRANSCO CLSG Management on the way forward to ensuring that Liberians get access to reliable electricity. He noted that energy is very important for development and so it is incumbent on all sovereign states to provide affordable and reliable electricity to all.

Minister Murray reechoed Liberia’s full commitment to the CLSG project and to other regional and global energy development frameworks. He said Liberia plays a greater part of in the low usage of the CLSG line despite making greater contributions over the years to the CLSG project. He assured that Liberia will remain supportive of the project and shall continuously deliver such support.

Minister Murray apologized for Liberia’s delay in signing the key framework agreements due to tight fiscal space of the Government and coupled with other related challenges. However, he expressed commitment on behalf of Liberia to increase the use of the CLSG line. The Minister added that Liberia also supports regional economic development and integration of ECOWAS countries.

He acknowledged the role of the development partners including the World Bank, African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the German Development Bank (KfW) in making the CLSG project practical. He encouraged member countries to strengthen existing bond to implement such a great energy project because of common problems and issues the region is faced with.

Minister Murray emphasized that the CLSG regional collaboration is further necessary because of the significance of shared resources and shared destiny as everyone yearns for as prosperous African nations.

“Liberia is happy,” Minister Murray disclosed and added that the country looks forward to reviewing the recommendations from the TRANSCO CLSG Implementation Committee meeting. “We (the government and people of Liberia) want to see TRANSCO CLSG commercially viable for the interest of all.

In related development, the CEO and Chairman of Board of Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Mr. Monie R. Captan also held talks with Ivorian authorities on the energy issues and according to him, there is high prospect for Liberia in the energy sector.

The new LEC Boss was in Abidjan recently along with the Minister of Energy for the high-level TRANSCO CLSG Steering Committee meeting held under the auspices of the West African Power Pool (WAPP).

While in Abidjan, Mr. Captan along with Minister Murray visited the headquarters of TRANSCO CLSG and met with the General Manager, Mohammed M. Sherif. Discussions were fruitful. Both men reiterated Liberia unwavering commitment to the CLSG interconnection project. They discussed issues that are equally beneficial to TRANSCO CLSG and LEC, principally Liberia’s connection to the CLSG line.

The Management of TRANSCO CLSG recently applauded the Liberian Government’s decision to allocate $14M (USD) through the recast budget for 2022 towards efforts to improve access to stable and affordable electricity in the country. TRANSCO CLSG welcomed the bold move and acknowledged the efforts of the government’s action as a renewed commitment of the people of Liberia through their government, led by His Excellency President George Manneh Weah, to tackle the energy delivery issues in the country.

The appropriation was passed by the National Legislature and signed into law by the President. Liberia is expected to sign all commercial framework documents including the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Cote d’Ivoire and the Transmission Service Agreement with TRANSCO CLSG, which will pave the way for the delivery of light to millions of Liberians who are patiently awaiting the electricity.

Liberia has been without a stable, reliable, and affordable electricity for years, something many individuals believe have hampered growth of the country’s economy. However, with government’s preparedness to connect to TRANSCO CLSG transmission line, expectation is high that once again Liberians will enjoy stable electricity.

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