Home Economy Boakai Eyes ‘Big Light’…As World Bank Provides US$300 M For Construction of St. Paul-2 Hydropower Dam

Boakai Eyes ‘Big Light’…As World Bank Provides US$300 M For Construction of St. Paul-2 Hydropower Dam

by newsmanager

BONG COUNTY: A High- Powered Joint Assessment Delegation comprising Representatives of the West Regional Office of the World Bank, Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), over the weekend, visited Valayanah Town which is situated in Lower Bong County, North-Western region of Liberia.

During the visit, members of the delegation held stakeholders’ engagement with local residents for the construction of the proposed St. Paul-2 Hydropower Dam (SP2).

Franz Drees-Gross, a US and German national, who serves as Director of Infrastructure in the World Bank’s West African Regional Office, headed the joint Assessment Delegation.

Also, Ambassador Monie Ralph Captan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), who is also former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia headed the LEC Project Implementation Unit (PIU).

Other members of the delegation included Bill Harkins, Project Manager; William Thompson, Project Engagement Consultant, among others.

The objective of the delegation’s visit to the town; the dam site was to see the exact location of the project and have joint in-house or town hall engagement and interaction with the community and also view the topography of the project area, as well as to obtain technical briefing from the project manager.

The joint assessment was in consonance with President Joseph Boakai’s First Energy Sector Round Table held recently at the Executive Mansion on Capitol Hill in Monrovia along with key stakeholders in the sector.

During the First Energy Sector Round Table, the Liberian President gave 100% support to the project, while the World Bank committed itself to provide US$300 million for the construction of the proposed St. Paul-2 Hydropower Dam (SP2).

The interaction with the local communities and visitation of the site, coupled with the technical briefing on the project, are a part of the initial feasibility studies which indicate that the work for the construction of the proposed St. Paul-2 Hydropower Dam (SP2) has already begun.

The average cost of the project is estimated at US$600 million but, currently the government of Liberia has received a commitment of US$300 million from the World Bank Group.

However, SP2 is an initiative of the Government of Liberia, headed by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, with support of development partners, particularly the World Bank and implemented by the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) through its Project Implementation Unit (PIU).

The Joint Assessment delegation was received at the entrance of the town by women groups, elders and youth groups who sang songs of praises for its visitation.

The town residents joyously presented multiple gift items including rice, white male chicken, among others to the visiting guests as part of their traditional appreciation for such proposed development project.

In his technical briefing statement to the delegation, at the project site, the Architectural Designer of the Project, Mr. Bill Hakins, who is also the Project Manager disclosed that the SP2 is the second project of the St. Paul River Hydropower Cascade (waterfall) and it is designed into four main components.

According to him, the project has 6.5 km dam, creating a reservoir of 264 million centimeters, while it has an annual energy output of 758 GWh.

He disclosed that the third components include about 80 km of 225kv transmission lines, connecting the project to Mount Coffee substation and upgrade of 27km access road from Bong Mines to the project site.

There are more works that will be done over the next months, weeks, years and they include the Economic and Environmental and Social Safeguard studies.

These studies are going to guide the Plan for the project, looking at transmission lines, farmland, the safety of homes and the water and also the animals that are living in the area. If there is a means for relocation, all of those things will be addressed,” he told the delegation.

Speaking during the Town Hall meeting with the residents, World Bank Regional Director, Mr. Franz Dress-Gross, extolled the locals for the warmed reception accorded the joint assessment delegation and expressed happiness that they have demonstrated love for the project.

According to him, recently members of the delegation met with President Joseph Nyuma Boakai during a round table discussion held at the Executive Mansion on Capitol Hill in Monrovia on the energy sector and they talked about the project and the President understood and said dam should be built.

” Today, we have come to hear from you if you want this dam. The World Bank, we have built dams in many countries. We want this project to bring light to the Liberian people. This project is big.

For his part, the Corporate Communications Manager of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Mr. Philip Farley, said because the people are excited and welcome the construction of the dam, they will make them happy and satisfied.
Mr. Farley disclosed that the government of Liberia has acquired a commitment of US$300m for the project, something he described as a great step in actualizing the project while expressing explicit optimism about the completion of the project on time.
According to him, President Boakai told the World Bank and everyone that his hand is behind the new project during their round table energy discussion with the President.
” Let me tell you, the President after listening to the World Bank delegation explaining about this project, he accepted and said they have his 100% support. And so, we are so happy for the welcome and gifts that you have provided us. We will make you happy,” he concluded. Contributed By Elbie Sebleh.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment