Within the Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP), the World Bank provides a 25 million USD grant to the government of Liberia to establish the first mega-watt scale hydropower grid in Liberia, to strengthen rural electrification institution and regulations, and to develop the market for solar home systems and solar lanterns. To ensure continuous electricity, the hydropower grid will be backed up with a Diesel generator that will be financed with 2 million USD from the International Development Association (IDA). The time frame of the project is January 2016 through June 2021.
Sole implementer Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA)
Donors and budget US$27 million Investment Project Financing: grant of US$25 million (SREP), IDA credit of US$2 million to RREA.
Start and end date 28-Jan-2016 to 30-Jun-2021
Aims/objectives to increase access to electricity and to foster the use of renewable energy sources.
Geographic coverage Lofa county, focusing on Vonjaima, Foya, Kolahun, and Massambolahun/ Bolahun and surrounding areas. Institutional support in Monrovia, strengthening of retailers who can be all over Liberia
Target groups 50,000 people, small businesses, associations, and public institutions in Lofa County through connections to a mini-grid,
electrification institutions mainly in Monrovia (capacity building),
about 100,000 people nationwide togain access to stand-alone solar systems
Website about project http://projects.worldbank.org/P149683/?lang=en&tab=overview
Components and main activities
1. Decentralized electrification with hydropower and Diesel in Lofa County
The first component of LIRENAP supports RREA to provide access to affordable, reliable, year-round electricity services to at about 50,000 people in North Lofa County. It is planned to construct a 2.5 megawatt mini-hydropower facility in Kolahun with an additional 3 megawatt back-up diesel generation plant and a low voltage transmission and distribution network facility in Lofa County. When installed, this hybrid (hydro-diesel) generation facility will provide power to cities and towns in Lofa County including Kolahun, Voinjama, Foya, Bolahun, Massabolahun and surrounding villages. An estimated initial 50,000 persons as well as small business and public institutions are expected to benefit from this project. When completed, this hybrid mini-grid is expected to be turned over to the private sector by the RREA to operate and manage.
2. Technical assistance to strengthen rural electrification institutions and regulations
The government of Liberia (GoL) will be supported to expand decentralized electrification and foster the use of renewable energy. This includes the Development of regulations and standards for isolated mini-grids, Project implementation support and capacity-building for RREA.
Read more about these cross-cutting sector strengthening activites.
3. Market development of stand-alone solar systems
The development of a national market for solar systems will be supported with the aim of access to modern energy services to over 100,000 people. This will be done through strengthening the retail network and facilitating the transfer of procurement and import responsibilities from RREA to the private sector. Moreover, demand-side constraints are to be addressed. The activities build on experience of the LLL Program.
Read more about these solar promoting activities here.
The project report of December 2016 states that RREA has supervised feasibility studies for the mini-grid and worked towards procurement of the main contracts. There is a delay of 6 months for contracting of the Owner’s Engineer to oversee construction of the mini-grid in Lofa County.
In March 2017, RREA organized a meeting for possible Independent Power Providers (IPPs) to plan towards how to organize operation of the mini-grid.