African Development Bank (AfDB) backing has enabled Liberia to gain support for a far-reaching renewable energy investment plan. A total of US$50 million from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Program to Scale up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP) will give Liberia resources to bolster its intention to reach a 35% electrification rate by 2030.
Currently less than 2% of Liberian citizens have electricity. The plan is designed to help increase energy access through off-grid electricity schemes based on small hydro, solar photvoltaic, biomass, and hybrid systems.
As a first step, the country will use a US$1.5 million SREP project preparation grant to develop an AfDB-supported project entitled Renewable Energy for Electrification in Eastern Liberia. “At AfDB, we are very pleased to support Liberia as it takes this transformational step,” Florence Richard-Quintanilha, AfDB’s task manager for the preparation of the Liberia plan, says.
“Countries like Liberia face an enormous double-edged challenge of building badly needed access to energy while at the same time applying the relevant climate-friendly solutions. We believe that Liberian citizens stand to benefit greatly from this plan; indeed, we hope that increasing access to affordable and safe energy in rural areas of the southeast will support greater development in this zone damaged by the civil war. With this plan, the country stands ready to become an example for other fragile states in Africa trying to increase energy access and diversify their energy mix through renewables.”
The plan is designed to be carried out in two financing phases. In phase I, implementing partners will rely more on public investment to help mitigate risks associated with country conditions, lack of an enabling environment suitable for renewables powered off grid schemes, and new and/or untested business and technology models. In phase II, the private sector will take the lead with development partners’ support to scale up the program based on the results of phase I.