Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently visited the VOITH Hydro manufacturing facilities in Germany with the objective of seeing first-hand the progress on three power turbines being produced for the rehabilitation of Mount Coffee Hydro Plant in Liberia.
Current capacity grossly insufficient
During the tour, Sirleaf commented that the potential for doing business and economic growth is tied to the availability of electricity, which will propel the economy and enhance production, reported The New Dawn.
The current 22MW of power capacity in the city of Harrisburg, Montserrado County and its environs (with a population of about 1.3 million people) is grossly insufficient to address the level of investments and development that the country has seen after the Liberian civil crises.
The rehabilitation of the hydro power plant will increase the capacity to an anticipated 88MW and the construction of additional mini hydroelectric power plants for the supply of electricity in other parts of the country is underway.
Cross border collaboration
Liberia has also made regional efforts with its neighbours through the West Africa Power Pool for an interconnection line between Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast to supply electricity from the Ivory Coast to these Mano River Union Countries. The total length of the interconnection line is expected to be approximately 1,411km.
Sirleaf explained that: “Without major infrastructure [development in] power, the roads and water, and other development objectives such as the effective running of schools, the improvement in the health sectors, the country's agriculture programme and other meaningful projects will not be successful.”
The president also emphasized the need for human resource capacity development through vocational training of Liberians at the VOITH training institute in Germany for the management of the power resources under construction across the country.
Mount Coffee hydropower plant
The hydropower plant was destroyed during a period of civil war in the early 1990s and the cost of repairs and upgrades has been estimated at $230 million (ZAR2.8 billion). The government has received funding from various donors including the European Investment Bank and European Central Bank to help finance the work.