THE Climate Investment Funds (CIF) awarded Liberia a $23.25 million grant to help transform the country’s renewable energy sector. The project aims at developing a 9.8 MW hydropower plant at Gbedin Falls on the Mano River in Nimba County, and provide a low-cost, sustainable and reliable source of electricity to Liberia.
The project will be funded by Scaling-up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP), a programme under the CIF which objective is to empower transformation in developing countries by demonstrating the economic, social and environmental viability of renewable energy.
‘Liberia has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the world with less than 2 percent 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,’ said Leandro Azevedo, AfDB’s CIF co-ordinator and senior climate change officer. ‘We will work intensively with our energy experts to ensure that the project’s implementation begins as quickly as possible,’ he added.
AfDB expects the project to reduce 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 prioritize their own scarce resources into those sectors of the economy and society that have suffered greatly with the depression caused by this terrible disease.’ said Anthony Nyong, Director, climate finance and climate change department at the AfDB. ‘AfDB is strongly committed to support Liberia in transforming its energy sector following this approval from the CIF,’ he said.
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 510 kWh for an average family of 5 persons, it is estimated that the project would supply electricity to about 500,000 people.
Established in 2008, as one of the largest fast-tracked climate financing instruments in the world, the $8.3bn CIF provides developing countries with grants, concessional loans, risk mitigation instruments, and equity that leverage significant financing from the private sector, multilateral development banks (MDBs) and other sources. Five MDBs –AfDB, Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and World Bank Group (WBG) – implement CIF-funded projects and programmes.