The head of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, has notified the Liberian Government, through the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, that EU is hiring the services of four international experts for a period of four years to help boost the renewable energy sector.
She said in the first phase of the project, one of the experts will work as an international director of the Bureau of Electricity and Renewable Energy, who will provide technical support to the Assistant Minister for Energy alongside a national deputy director.
Ambassador Intelmann said three senior experts in electricity regulation will be joined by three locally-recruited experts to jumpstart the Electricity Regulatory Function.
“In one to two years, the regulatory function will develop into an independent agency in compliance with the Electricity Law of Liberia,” the Envoy added.
She said the EU’s intervention aims to provide significant additional technical capacity to reorganize and make the Department of Energy of the Ministry of Lands efficient in addressing the challenges the electricity sector faces.
“In this way, it will complement the significant grant funding the EU is providing to support the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) and the Rural and Renewable Energy Agency – the Ministry’s implementing partners – in their endeavors to respectively connect the whole of Liberia to the electric grid. They will also provide improved access to modern energy services in the rural areas of the country,” she added.
Improvement in the energy sector of Liberia has been a concern over the years since Liberia graduated from a 14-year civil strife in 2003.
The business community has been complaining that energy provided by the LEC, through World Bank assistance, is very costly and unstable.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in response to addressing the prevailing conditions in the energy sector submitted a Bill to the National Legislature in July 2015.
The Bill entitled: “2015 Electricity Law of Liberia,” seeks to liberalize the energy sector in order to drive competition to improve access, quality and lower costs of electricity.
In the Act, it is established that legal and regulatory framework for generation, transmission, distribution and retail of electricity for import and export are setup to create an enabling environment for private sector investment in the country’s energy sector.
Considering the challenges associated with energy in postwar Liberia and the merits of the President’s Bill, the Senate in 2015 passed the Electricity Law of Liberia to liberalize and open the sector for private investment.