Home Economy To Electrify 200 Hospitals, Others: RREA, LEC Launch US$16m Project Phase Two

To Electrify 200 Hospitals, Others: RREA, LEC Launch US$16m Project Phase Two

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By Elbie Sebleh

MONROVIA: Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), and Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) have officially launched second phase of the World Bank funded US$16 million Liberia Electricity sector strengthening and access Project (LESSA; P180498).

The day-long stakeholders consultation dialogue which was held at the Cape Hotel in Monrovia, brought together twenty-three government ministries and agencies, as well as donors, INGOs and Public-private sectors to deliberate on the Second Phase of Liberia Electricity Sector Strengthening and Access Project (LESSAP) Multiphase Programmatic Approach (MPA) program.

The meeting was patched in two forms, inclusive of zoom call and a face-to-face presentation by participating parties.

The objective of the consultation is to introduce the project to the national stakeholders, relevant Government ministries and agencies, off-grid companies, potential customers, partners, investors, and other stakeholders and to demonstrate the benefits, features, and solicit their feedback and opinions that will help to shape the design of the project.

Also, the project’s goals are to contribute to increasing access to sustainable, reliable and affordable energy in the program areas in Liberia by rehabilitating, upgrading, and expanding medium voltage (MV) and low voltage (LV) distribution network in and around Monrovia, implementing revenue protection measures; and expanding off-grid solar electrification in public facilities and households in remote communities, including through mini grid electrification.

This is in line with the World Bank ESF that requires the borrower to develop and implement a Stakeholder Engagement Plan for the project and the Environmental Protection Agency and Management Law (EPML) as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Act).

The EPA Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Protection Procedural Guidelines provide for the participation of stakeholders at all levels of the project cycles in order to ensure that their concerns and inputs are considered as part of the design, planning, project implementation and decommissioning.

The project is being implemented by the Rural Renewable Energy Agency RREA and the Liberia Electricity Corporation LEC.

Officially launching the second phase of the project, Mr. Stephen V. Potter, Deputy Executive Director for Program (RREA) said, the second phase of the project seeks to provide Electricity for two hundred health facilities.

He pointed out that phase two of the project is valued at US$ 16 million which is provided by the World Bank and its partners with US$13 million in credit and USD$3 million in grant.

“The second phase would scale-up the activities initiated under the first phase. Specifically, financing would be provided for rehabilitation, upgrade, and expansion of the distribution network in and around Monrovia, and stand-alone systems for households, public institutions, and mini grids in remote and dispersed communities of Liberia. RREA will provide the off-grid while LEC will provide the on-grid,” he noted.

Mr. Potter disclosed that they are thinking of expanding the results-based framework in phase two by connecting educational facilities and health sector with off-grid Electricity.

” As we gather to discuss phase two which is an enhancement of phase one, we want to assure the government and development partners that phase two will achieve its objectives and goals. Additionally, health facilities of two hundred will be connected, ” he noted.

In 2020, the Government of Liberia approved the National Electrification Strategy (NES).

The NES, which was supported by the World Bank, provides a roadmap to universal access by 2030 through a combination of grid expansion and densification and off-grid solutions.

Grid expansion and densification will be the least-cost option to reach 70 percent of new connections while the remaining 30 percent of new connections could be served by mini-grids and stand-alone solar systems.

The Liberia LESSAP Program MPA was approved by the World Bank Board on March 12, 2021, for a total financing envelope of IDA US$190 million, with the Program Development Objective (PrDO) “increasing access to sustainable, reliable and affordable energy in the program areas in Liberia”.

At the time of the approval of the parent MPA, the first phase was approved as an Investment Project Financing (I PF), with an IDA finamcooof US$59 million and US$5.2 million Co-financing from trust funds (Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and Japan Policy and Human Resources Development Fund (PHRD)).

The first phase has four components: Rehabilitation, and Expansion of Electricity Infrastructure and Systems and Access Expansion, Electrification of Health Centers and Households in Off-grid Rural Areas, Technical Assistance for Institutional Reform, Capacity Building of Sector Institutions, and Implementation Support to LEC.

The closing date of the first phase is June 30, 2023. The MPA design envisaged three phases, and that the phases would overlap with each other to ensure continuity of support and build on the momentum expected in the first phase.

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