Voinjama Sept. 6: The Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA) on September 5, 2018, broke grounds for the construction of a 5.5 kilometer road from Mbaloma to the proposed Kaiha 2 Hydropower Sites in Lukambeh District, Lofa County. This ground breaking activity also includes plans for the rehabilitation of the 35 kilometer road that links Mbaloma to Kolahun-Foya Junction.
The event brought together local County officials headed by Honorable William Tamba Kamba, Superintendent of Lofa County, officials from the RREA, citizens of the District, and representatives of SSF Entrepreneurs, the road contractor.
The road project is part of the implementation of a $27 million project entitled Liberia Renewable Energy Access Project (LIRENAP), agreed between the World Bank and the Government of Liberia, which is aimed at increasing access to electricity and to foster the use of renewable energy sources, thereby, reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity. The LIRENAP project will finance the construction of a 2.5 MW mini-hydropower plant, the supply and installation of a 1.8 MW diesel generation plant, as well as transmission and distribution facilities that is expected to connect about 50,000 beneficiaries in major population centers in Lofa County, including Voinjama, Foya, Kolahun, Massambolahun, Bolahun and surrounding small towns and villages. The project will also finance the provision of technical assistance to strengthen rural electrification institutions and regulations, and market development of stand-alone solar systems, which would support the RREA to continue fostering the growth of a market for high quality solar energy lighting devices.
Speaking on behalf of government during the ceremony, Lofa County Superintendent, Honorable William Tamba Kamba thanked the World Bank for the support to the people of Lofa and Liberia at large. Hon. Kamba said the provision of electricity to the people of Lofa County is a key component for the development of the county. According to Honorable Kamba, the government of Liberia remains grateful to the World Bank and other partners that are supportive of the Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda. Honorable Kamba pointed out that the project when completed will boost commercial and economic activities in Lofa County. The Superintendent also used the occasion to call on the RREA to consider the extension of similar project to other parts of the County including Vahun, Salayea, Quardu Gboni and Zorzor districts in Lofa County.
Also speaking at the ceremony, RREA’s Executive Director, Mr. Augustus Goanue disclosed that the road works being done by SSF Enterprise Inc., has a one year duration beginning September 5, 2018. According to Mr. Goanue, the 5.5 kilometer road from Mbaloma town to the Kaiha 2 Hydropower site will be the first phase of the road construction activities and is intended to create access to the mini hydropower plant construction site; while the remaining 35 kilometer stretch of existing road from Mbaloma to Kolahun-Foya Junction will be rehabilitated by the end of the contract period.
Director Goanue noted that the road project would not only provide means for the construction of the Hydropower Plant to provide electricity for the people of that part of Lofa County, but emphasized that the roads will also provide easy access to citizens of the area in transporting their commodities to the markets.
In a separate development, RREA has contracted Earth Environmental Consultancy, Inc. to conduct socio-economic survey for the preparation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the Kaiha 2 mini-hydropower project in the county. The exercise aims to engage relevant stakeholders within the right-of-way of the project areas, as well as to assess and determine potential impacts that are likely to occur as a result of the proposed project activities and to recommend appropriate measures to mitigate or prevent the occurrence of these impacts.
The Rural and Renewable Energy Agency was established by Executive Order in January 2010 and enacted into law on July 15, 2015, with the mandate to facilitate and accelerate the economic transformation of rural Liberia, by promoting the development and supply of modern energy products and services to rural areas, with an emphasis on locally available renewable resources.
Pursuant to its mandate, the RREA, in collaboration with its development partners has developed Liberia’s first ever Rural Energy Strategy and Master Plan and has undertaking several projects in rural Liberia, to include 60 kW Hydropower mini-grid in Yandohun, Lofa County; 43 kW standalone solar systems in Zorzor, Lofa County; 25 kW standalone solar systems in Gbarnway, Lofa County; 60 kW biomass mini-grid system in Kwendin, Nimba County; 54 kW Biomass mini-grid system in Sorlumba, Lofa County; an aggregate of 120 kW Solar mini-grids in the towns of Taninahum, Koiyama, Mamikonedu, Nyengbelahun, Lengbamah, in Lofa County; 80 kW solar mini-grid in Totota, Bong County; 440 standalone solar systems installed on clinics, schools, health centers, hospital and staff quarters across Liberia. The RREA, via Local Retail Partners, has marketed approximately 35,000 pieces of assorted solar lighting products.
As part of its upcoming energy portfolio, the RREA, in collaboration with its development partners, has earmarked the development of a 9.34 MW hydropower plant on the Mani River in Gbedin, Nimba County; 1 MW hydropower plant on the Sinoe River in Sinoe County; extension of the Grid from Ganta to Suakoko, via Gbarnga City. Several major population centers in the South-East have also been studied for possible consideration at the earliest.