Liberia has awarded a US$60 million contract to German company Voith for the modernisation of the Mount Coffee hydropower plant at the St. Paul River. The company will modernise the power plant’s Francis turbines and deliver new generators, control technology as well as electrical and mechanical power plant equipment.

The project is being financed by the Liberian and the Norwegian governments, the European Investment Bank, and the German KfW Bank. The modernised units will generate a much higher output than the previous machines. The power output per unit will be raised by about one third.

The run-of-river hydropower plant Mount Coffee was built in the 1960s as the second and largest hydroelectric plant in Liberia. During the civil war, the plant and the dam, which is situated close to the capital Monrovia, was damaged; looting following the end of war destroyed the electrical and mechanical components. Only parts of the dam and the steel penstock remained intact. Monrovia has remained dependent on costly and limited diesel generation since 2006. The modernisation of the power plant is therefore contributing to economic progress in Liberia.

“After the setbacks Liberia had to endure we are pleased to be able to make a substantial contribution to the economic development of the country,” Dr. Roland Münch, CEO and president of Voith Hydro, says. Upon completion of the order, Monrovia’s more than one million inhabitants will be supplied with reliable electricity.

Recently Voith received an order for equipping the Angolan hydropower plant Cambambe II. The company has also just started with the modernisation of Inga I hydropower plant in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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