Thursday, December 15, 2016 – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has officially commissioned the newly rehabilitated Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant in Harrisburg, Montserrado County, thus steering Liberia into energy sustainability and economic growth.
She said the first phase of the electrification project will benefit 18 communities in Monrovia and its environs. The Liberian leader lauded the country’s local and international partners for the implementation of the Mount Coffee Hydropower Project..
The massive rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant was initiated by the Liberian government through partnership with friendly governments and institutions including the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the United States of America, the European Investment Bank, Germen Government, Norwegian and German governments.
The initiative will produce the supply of sustainable electricity to an initial 40,000 households in Montserrado County and rural areas. The first Turbines already tested before being switched on has the capacity of 22 megawatts.
The Mount Coffee Hydro was constructed 1966 by the administration of former President William V. S. but was destroyed during the civil conflict in Liberia.
The rehabilitation of the Mt. Coffee Hydropower plant is estimated at US$ 357 million and officially began in May of 2012.
The turning on of Mount Coffee Hydro project for the first time in 26 years has been billed as the biggest milestone accelerating Liberia’s economic gains and bringing life back to the streets of Monrovia.
Mount Coffee Hydro Project was of several projects including the White Plains Water Treatment Plant, the Monrovia Consolidated School System and JFK Memorial Medical Center, U.S. President Kennedy promised to President William V. S. Tubman in the 1960s.
Construction of the facility began in 1964 by the Monrovia Power Authority using Raymond Concrete Pile Company as the contractor and Stanley Consultants as the project managers. In 1966, the power company completed the initial phase of the dam and began generating electricity.
The project was finished in 1967 and named the T. J. R. Faulkner W.F. Walker Hydroelectric Power Station.
Initial generating capacity was 30 MW produced by two turbines, which was increased to 64 MW when two more turbines were added in 1973. The Monrovia Power Authority became the Liberia Electricity Corporation on July 12, 1973.
In June 1990, the government announced plans to more than double the electricity generating capacity of the project and adding a reservoir to allow more generation during the dry season.
The plans called for a new 4,000 feet dam to be built upriver on the Via River to provide storage capacity, while two 52 MW turbines would be added at the existing power generating plant. The US$300 million expansion was never begun due to the Civil War.
The dam was ransacked, and left in ruins during the civil conflict. And the future hope of Liberia’s economy was dashed. Rebel forces under the command of Charles Taylor seized the Mt. Coffee plant in July 1990, halting production and causing the dam to breach.
The ceremony was graced by several dignitaries including senior government officials, Hon. Nancy Lee, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, MCC, Borge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway and Hon. Gunter Nooke,-representing German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, Legislators, Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, and a cross-section of jubilant citizens.