The Liberia Renewable Energy Access Project has announced plans for a small hydropower plant in the Kolahun district on the Kaiha River. The district, in the country’s northernmost county, has a population of around 60,000.
The World Bank estimates the new plant will cost $27m. Of this, $25m is a grant from the Strategic Climate Fund’s Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program (leading donor: the UK), which helps low income countries use renewable power to create economic opportunities, and the International Development Association will chip in with $2m. Construction is slated to begin in January 2017.
The plant will boost the economy in an area badly hit by Ebola. It will draw on experience gained in a 2014 project, funded by the World Bank, for an expanded 60kW mini-hydro plant in nearby Yandohun.
The World Bank says Liberia has one of the world’s lowest rates of electrification: less than 2%. The new plant will provide sustainable, reliable electricity to 50,000 residents and small businesses in Lofa County and, via the local grid, give 100,000 more people access to stand-alone solar systems and lanterns.