Monrovia — April 24, 2013
On April 12, 2013, the Government of Liberia, through the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), signed a Consulting Services Agreement with Norplan AS of Norway in joint venture with Fichtner GmbH of Germany, to serve as Owner’s Engineer for the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydropower Project, located on the St. Paul River in Montserrado County. The local consulting firm, Center for Sustainable Energy Technology, will be working as a sub-consultant for the joint venture. The Owner’s Engineer has commenced work and will mobilize to Monrovia in early May 2013.
Signing of this agreement is a major milestone for the project. The Owner’s Engineer is responsible to ensure that a coherent and comprehensive approach is taken to the rehabilitation, modernization and improvement measures for the project, while at all times making effective and efficient use of the resources of the Government of Liberia, the Liberia Electricity Corporation and the international donors. Norplan/Fichtner are to provide complete, comprehensive and professional consulting services for the project preparation as well as support services to LEC’s Mount Coffee Project Implementation Unit (PIU).
Work on the project began in May 2012 with the establishment and development of the Mt. Coffee PIU at LEC. The project is anticipated to take approximately five years, with first commercial power from the plant being planned for December 2015, and project completion targeted for end of year 2016.
Liberia´s considerable development challenges, combined with the fact that all of LEC´s generation capacity is currently sourced from costly diesel generators, underlines the urgency in getting the Mt. Coffee Hydropower Plant (MCHPP) operable in the shortest possible time. The project is co-financed by the Government of Norway, Government of Germany, European Investment Bank and the Government of Liberia.
The Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant was first constructed in 1964. The first phase, with an installed capacity of 30 Megawatts from two turbines, was commissioned and put in production in 1967. The project was undertaken by the Government of Liberia (GOL), with financing from the Government of the United States of America. Stanley Consultants (USA) served as project managers. The second phase increased the installed capacity to 64 Megawatts and was financed by the World Bank. Motor Columbus (Switzerland) served as the project managers. The MCHPP facilities were seized by rebel forces during the period of civil unrest, halting production and causing the dam to breach. In subsequent years, the plant was completely looted and destroyed. Following the restoration of peace, rehabilitation of the MCHPP was identified as the best option for low-cost and sustainable energy generation in the near term.