Liberia - EnergyLiberia - Energy
The Liberian government is working closely with its development partners to undertake measures to rebuild the country’s electricity infrastructure. Liberia has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the world, with only about 8 percent of households connected to the national grid. Less than 7 percent of the population in Monrovia has regular access to electricity and less than 2 percent of the population has access in rural areas. The economy is severely constrained by a lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity. On-grid electricity sold in Monrovia currently has an average tariff of $0.35/kWh. This makes electricity the single largest component of operational expenses in Liberia for businesses. The government has identified the lack of reliable and affordable electricity, along with a poor road network, as binding constraints to the country’s growth. It also highlighted weak and underdeveloped infrastructure and a dysfunctional public utility system as the biggest bottlenecks to creating the enabling environment for investment in the energy sector. Liberia’s National Energy Policy sets out a goal of making reliable, affordable energy accessible to all parts of the country by accelerating public-private partnerships in the energy sector. The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) encourages the engagement of the private sector in small-scale renewable electricity generation projects. These projects also need associated investments from the private sector in transmission and distribution networks.
The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC)--a state utility company--continues to restore limited electricity to parts of Monrovia. Many larger facilities such as hotels, restaurants, and office buildings use privately-owned generators to supply electricity to their premises. The rehabilitated Mount Coffee Hydroelectric Plant became fully functioning and began providing all of the LEC’s electricity in July 2017. The rehabilitated hydroelectric plant took over completely from the diesel power plants that the LEC had relied on for many years, although Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) is sometimes required as a supplemental source during the dry season. Mount Coffee can now generate 88 megawatts of power (but the current constraint is distribution), with capacity to expand to 126 MW as electrification efforts continue throughout the country. The hydro plant could enable Liberia to export electricity to the West Africa Power Pool project (WAPP) inter-connection grid, which is under construction, connecting the border regions of Liberia with neighboring countries (Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone). The WAPP is a multi donor-supported project intended to increase electricity access for the rural communities in border regions of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. Some major population centers along Liberia’s borders, such as the city of Ganta and its surrounding towns, are already electrified by the WAPP cross-border project.
Launched in 2013, Power Africa is a market-driven, U.S. Government-led public-private partnership to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. It offers private sector entities tools and resources to facilitate doing business in Africa’s power sector. In 2016, the Electrify Africa Act institutionalized Power Africa. Learn more about the full Power Africa toolbox (https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica/toolbox) or other opportunities offered by Power Africa (https://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica. By working with development partners such as Power Africa and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the government has laid a foundation for unlocking the opportunities to modernize the electricity sector. This includes the passage of the Liberia Electricity Law and an act creating the Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), a critical policy objective that has provided a framework for private sector participation in the electricity sector.
There is increasing demand for electricity from renewable energy sources. The best prospect sectors for U.S. companies include supply of solar energy to commercial and residential properties. The government welcomes public-private partnerships to construct transmission and distribution lines outside Monrovia, where more than 90 percent of the population has no access to electricity. The government is investing primarily in small-scale power generation projects while looking to donors, and potentially private sector investors, to augment transmission and distribution capacity and develop alternative energy projects.
Liberia’s favorable climate, abundant farmland, and numerous rivers make generation of thermal and hydro energy a promising area for foreign investors. Considerable potential exists for hydroelectric power generation throughout the country. As the transmission and distribution grid needs to be repaired and expanded, there are opportunities for U.S. investors in the energy sector.
Ministry Mines and Energy: no website
National Investment Commission
Ministry of Public Works
Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC)
Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA)
Mt. Coffee Hydropower Rehabilitation Project
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Liberia Energy Trade Development and Promotion