Since its establishment through an Act of Legislature on July1973, the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) on the 12 July, celebrated its Golden Jubilee. Fifty years of service to Liberia as an entity of government, the LEC has carried out its mandate to produce and supply affordable, efficient and reliable electric power to the people of Liberia.
As a power producer over these five decades, the LEC has had its own share of challenges. During the Liberian Civil War, its power generation and distribution sectors got severely damaged. The Mt. Coffee Hydro Plant was badly destroyed and the country was in complete darkness. With support from the Government of Liberia and funding from donor partners, the Hydro was rebuilt to a generation capacity of 88 megawatts and was commissioned in 2018.
From supplying electricity to only the capital city Monrovia, the LEC has expanded its network to provide electricity to nine counties across Liberia, to include Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Montserrado, Margibi, Nimba, Bong, Maryland and Grand Gedeh counties. LEC has also increased its customer base from thirty-five thousand (35,000) customers in 1989 to over two hundred thousand (220,000) customers.
From 13MW generation capacity in 1989, LEC now has a total installed generation capacity of 126MW which includes 88MW from the Mt. Coffee Hydro Power Plant and 38MW from the Bushrod Thermal Plant. In addition to its installed generation capacity, LEC also has 27MW imported capacity from CI Energies in the Ivory Coast through the CLSG/Transco Transmission Lines.
With its growing power demand, the LEC through the Government of Liberia, West African Power Pool, with funding from the World Bank, is in the process of constructing a 150 megawatts dam (SP-2), further up the St. Paul River. This game changing project will take just our hydro generation capacity up to 238 megawatts.
For clean power generation moving into the future, the World Bank Group, on December 20, 2022, approved on an absence-of-objection basis a credit of $96m to the Republic of Liberia for the Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project (RESPITE).
The approved financing will be used to finance additional generation assets for the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC). The project will cover the procurement of a 20MW solar power plant, the expansion of Mt. Coffee hydropower by two additional turbines of approximately 40MW, the provision of technical assistance, and the establishment of an authority responsible for the management of river watersheds and development of a new hydropower project.
RESPITE is a regional solar power intervention project with a total budget of $286m that will benefit Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Chad.
With all of these inputs moving into the future, Mr. Monie Captan and his team at LEC, are quite confident of meeting Liberia’s energy needs soon and even sell power to neighboring countries. Presently as we go through the rainy season, Liberia is sending on a daily average 7.5 megawatts into the CLSG/Transco lines into the Ivory Coast.