The World Bank Group has pledged US$300 million to the Republic of Liberia for the construction of a second Hydroelectric Dam (SP-2) further up the St. Paul River in Lower Bong County. This project, when completed, will significantly increase Liberia’s hydropower generation capacity by an additional 150 megawatts. This hydro project will be the second of four dams to be constructed along the St. Paul River.
The World Bank announced the pledge at a donor conference jointly organized by the Bank and the Republic of Liberia, acting through the Ministry of Mines & Energy and the Executive Mansion, on July 5, 2013. The donor conference followed an executive order signed by the President of Liberia, constituting a Steering Committee to oversee the implementation and ensure the successful completion of the SP2 Hydropower Project. The order also constituted a Financial Mobilization Team (FMT) to operate under the Steering Committee’s direction and charged with mobilizing financing for the Project.
In announcing the pledge, the World Bank’s Energy Practice Manager said that they are motivated to support the Project by LEC’s spectacular financial and operational performance over the past year and the trajectory of these performance indicators. He highlighted other projects in LEC the Bank is currently supporting, including the repair of Unit 1 at the Mt. Coffee Hydropower Plant, maintenance of thermal power plants at Bushrod, expansion of Mt. Coffee by two additional turbines and generators, and distribution & transmission and technical assistance projects, and encouraged other donors to support the LEC and the energy sector. He praised LEC as the only utility in West and Central Africa that is reducing electric distribution losses at a level not seen elsewhere. He also congratulated the Government of Liberia (GOL) for meeting the prerequisites for hosting the donor conference, which included the establishment of the Steering Committee, setting up the Financial Mobilization Team, and setting up the Project Implementation Unit within LEC.
The event, held at the Bank’s office and the German Embassy in Monrovia, was attended by representatives of Liberia’s development partners, including foreign governments and development finance institutions. They included the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, European Union, African Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the West African Power Pool. The Executive Mansion, the Ministries of Mines & Energy and Finance & Development Planning, and the Liberia Electricity Corporation represented the Republic of Liberia. The Hon. Gesler E. Murray led the Ministry of Mines & Energy, while Hon. Augustus J. Flomo led the team from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. The Liberia Electricity Corporation was led by its Acting CEO and Chairman of the Board, Hon. Monie R. Captan.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Presidential Legal Advisor, Cllr. Archibald Bernard, also a member of the SP2 Steering Committee, the President of the Republic, His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, said that his vision of providing the people of Liberia with reliable and affordable green electricity is becoming a reality. He said that his government is looking beyond SP2 to the bigger picture of SP4 and the Via Reservoir that will provide all-year-round hydroelectric energy for Liberia. He said that green energy generation is at the core of his Pro-Poor Agenda. He also noted that stable, affordable, and plentiful green energy can meet social, economic, and development needs; and even export excess power to other African countries.
Also speaking at the conference, UK’s Ambassador to Liberia, Neil Bradley, expressed his satisfaction with the development initiative and the progress made by the LEC through its Acting CEO, Monie R. Captan. He praised the government for supporting the LEC Anti-Power Theft Task Force, which has made significant progress in curbing power theft and increasing LEC’s customer base.
For his part, LEC Acting CEO, Monie Captan, sees the initial $300 million as a dream come true for the people of Liberia. He thanked the President of the Republic of Liberia, Dr. George Manneh Weah, for his countless contributions to Liberia’s energy sector, as evidenced by the government’s unwavering support for its anti-power theft initiative, which has made significant progress in curbing power theft by 20%.
When completed, the SP2 Hydropower Project, together with the on-going Mt. Coffee expansion project under RESPITE, will increase Liberia’s hydropower generation capacity to 278 megawatts.