The African Development Bank through the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) has endorsed a $23.25 million grant to help transform Liberia’s renewable energy sector.
The funds will be used to develop a 9.8MW hydropower plant at Gbedin Falls on the Mano River in Nimba County, providing a low-cost, sustainable and reliable source of electricity to Liberians.
The Bank explained in a statement that the project will be funded by the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP), a programme under the CIF which aims to empower transformation in developing countries by demonstrating the economic, social and environmental viability of renewable energy.
CIF coordinator and senior climate change officer, Leandro Azevedo, said: “Liberia has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the world with less than 2% of households having access to electricity services nationwide and therefore expanding access to electricity is not only vital but should be one of the country’s topmost priorities.”
Liberia’s renewable energy sector
AfDB expects the project to mark a reduction in the use of highly polluting stand-alone diesel generators that are critical in powering not only Liberian businesses and households but also in improving the conditions of health and education infrastructure.
“As Liberia continues recovering from the 2014 Ebola crisis, these financial resources will help the government of Liberia to prioritise their own scarce resources into those sectors of the economy and society that have suffered greatly with the depression caused by this terrible disease,” Director for Climate Finance and Climate Change Department at the AfDB, Anthony Nyong, said.
“AfDB is strongly committed to support Liberia in transforming its energy sector following this approval from the CIF,” Nyong added.
The electricity to be generated by the Gbedin Falls HPP will be transmitted via the existing Liberia-Cote d’Ivoire cross-border transmission line.
Based on the annual average households’ electricity consumption that currently stands at 510kWh for an average family of 5 persons, it is estimated that the project would supply electricity to about 500,000 people.