The General Manager of the Transmission Company of La Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (TRANSCO CLSG), Mohammed M. Sheriff, has outlined several potential economic benefits to achieve upon the completion of the project – among them, that with the CLSG electricity, the cost per kilowatt-hour (kwh) will be reduced by more than 50 percent to 15 or 20 cents.
Currently, he said, the cost of electricity is very high in the three countries- (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea) given that the main source of power is through diesel fuel. Instead of spending large sum of money for fuel to run generators, the money could be diverted for other infrastructures including building new roads.
Mr. Sheriff made the assertion yesterday, December 7, at the beginning of a three-day session to launch activities of the national committee for the implementation of the environmental and social management plan and the resettlement action plan in Liberia.
He said during the implementation of the integrated power connectivity, the project will impact the lives of its people and enhance basic social services which include education, health, water and sanitation, and security.
“When you look at the social aspect of things, it reduces cost of production and cost of operation. It will also create incentives and opportunities to build more schools, create jobs in which government will be able to employ more health workers. The cost of running a hospital will be extremely low; the same with businesses, which could see their cost of production dropped and profit margin increased,’’ he added.
According to the GM, the national committees in all four states comprised of all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies involved in the implementation of the CLSG project, including the lead ministries of Energy, Finance, Foreign Affairs and donor partners.
He said as part of the implementation, and to effectively carry out the CLSG project, national committees are set up in each of the beneficiary countries to follow up on the implementation of the environmental and social management plan and the resettlement action plan of people affected by the project.
He said there are four donors that are financing the project and among them are the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank (EIB), and KFW – a German Bank.
He said World Bank is providing about US$176 million of which US$32m is for the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) integration project; the African Development Bank, US$133 million; the European Investment Bank, US$105 million and the KFW, US$41 million. Meanwhile, the World Bank is financing the line in Liberia and the functioning of TRANSCO CLSG and WAPP integration project.
AfDB is also financing the rural electrification component to be managed by utilities in the four countries and functioning of TRANSCO CLSG.
The total cost of the project comes to US$476 million.
The GM then assured the gathering of his organization’s total commitment to deliver not just electricity, but a service that will be accessible, cheap and reliable and will improve the socio-economic status of the four countries.
In this regard, he noted that the CLSG project is very timely and that the process of implementation is on the right path.
On the environmental and social safeguard aspects, studies revealed that over 500 people will be directly affected by the project in Liberia, he said.
Some 2,120 crops are to be repossessed; 38 houses to be built, including 30 areas to protect birds.
He assured that measures will also be implemented to minimise the impact on the soil, air, waters, fauna, as well as other disturbances.
Representing the Government of Liberia, the Director of Energy at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Sylvester Massaquoi, commended the World Bank, AfDB and other partners for their support to Liberia’s energy sector.
He said the interconnection project called the CLSG is a sub-program of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) to eliminate power shortfalls in the four beneficiary countries, by building a 225 KV transmission power line of about 1,349 km connecting all four West African States.
“TRANSCO CLSG line,’’ he said, will provide huge opportunities for the people of Liberia. “We are going to have four sub-stations in Liberia that are fully secured financially, and there is a possibility of securing the fifth sub-station from the same partner, the KFW which is undergoing approval process. The sub-stations will be constructed in four areas that will include Yekepa, Buchanan, and Mount Coffee.’’
He indicated that there is possibility for the fifth one which will be between Yekepa and Buchanan, adding that these connections government can build its national transmission and distribution network and tap on the opportunity that will exist from the CLSG line.
He confirmed that the power project aims to integrate these countries in the regional electricity market created by WAPP and also strengthen electricity network in enabling people to have access to affordable energy of high quality, which will be sustainable.
Mr. Massaquoi reassured the African Development Bank, which is a major partner in the CLSG project, with regard to the rural electrification component.
He said as a ministry, both government and the people are eager to participate with renewed vigour for the success of the project.