The dedication of a 60Kilowatt Micro-hydro power plant in Yandohun, Lofa County, has set the pace for the construction of several more throughout the 15 political sub-divisions of Liberia. These hydro-plants would help to light rural communities with reliable and affordable electricity.
To construct similar Micro-hydro power plants and make the nationwide rural electrification program a reality, the government of Liberia through the Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA) at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME) has announced two of its partners have appropriated US$50 million.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, made the request in 2008 to Eugene Shannon, then Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy, to establish a prototype Rural and Renewable Energy Agency within the ministry to provide power to rural dwellers.
Making the disclosure at the Yandohun Micro-hydro plant dedication ceremony on Wednesday February 19, the Executive Director of RREA, Mr. Augustus Goanue, said the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) had appropriated US$25 million each for similar projects across the country.
Mr. Goanue said that the RREA, through assistances from President Ellen Johnson, has been capacitated to become a functioning agency able to mobilize new renewable energy services and investment for rural areas to meet demands in a technically reliable and affordable manner.
“This newly designed 60Kilowatt Micro-hydro Power Project costs US$40,000.00. This amount covers civil works, electromechanical equipment, powerhouse, transmission, distribution, customer’s internal wiring and connections. This could also be done in other parts of the country. What is left to do is for us to identify the ideal areas for the construction of other Micro-hydro plants,” the RREA boss said.
He added, “This Yandohun project is unique and serves as a model for similar communities throughout the country. Because of various socio-economic benefits associated with this project, it will contribute greatly to the RREA’s purpose of facilitating and accelerating the economic transformation of rural Liberia.”
After dedicating the hydro plant, President Sirleaf proceeded to the transmission site, which she described as “incredible,” and challenged stakeholders in the energy sector to speed up similar projects since the funds for several more had been secured.
World Bank’s Country Manager, Iguna Dobraja, who was present at the ceremony, confirmed that that the Bank had appropriated US$25 million for rural energy in Liberia.
She said that it was a great honor to be present at the ceremony and lauded government for their support and strong partnership. She said that the project and many other more to be funded by the Bank, would transform the benefitting communities. She said this would be done by enabling students to study their lessons, encouraging families to engage in meaningful businesses and allowing medical practitioners to render adequate services to their patients.