The project site was an overgrown ruin only three years ago. Today Mount Coffee is developed into a top modern hydro power facility. In December this year the first turbine will be ready to provide power to 40 000 households in the capital. Working full speed Mount Coffee has the capacity to provide power to 200 000 households.
Liberia has one of the lowest electrification rates in the world. Only 2% of the population overall, and 5.8% of the population living in the capital Monrovia currently have access to electricity through the public grid. Liberia also has one of the highest tariffs in the world, and most people get their electricity from polluting diesel generators.
Providing clean, stable and affordable electricity is a key component in the continued development of the country, and a key to President Ellen Johnson Sirleafs ambition of “small lights today, big lights tomorrow”.
The original Mount Coffee hydro power plant was opened in 1967. In 1989 the Liberia Electricity Corporation operated with 191 MW installed capacity (including Micro grids) and 35 000 customers (at that time 13% of the population).
Mount Coffee was destroyed and looted during the course of the civil crisis from 1990 – 2003, along with almost all other power infrastructure. After the Accra Peace Accord was signed in 2003, the LEC restarted their commercial operation in 2007 with 450 customers using 2 MW of diesel generation. In 2013 LEC operated with a capacity of 22MW through diesel generators.
In 2012 the rehabilitation of Mount Coffee began with support from Norway, Germany, and the EU. Later the American Millennium Challenge Corporation came in with additional funds, which enabled an expansion from three to four turbines. The total cost of the plant is USD 365 million.
Photo: The Norwegiam Embassy team responsible for Liberia in the plant's control room: Ms Ingrid Buli, Ambassador Hege Hertzberg and Ms Nina Snyder.
In international terms, Mount Coffee is a small power plant, but in Liberia it’s big – the country’s largest single source of renewable energy. It also holds great symbolic value, as a sign that the county is able to rebuild what was destroyed during the civil war.
Ambassador Hege Hertzberg and the team innteracting with HE President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. From right Ms Ingrid Buli, Ms Nina Snyder, Mr Jan Speed from Bistandsaktuelt, Hon Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Ms Marjon Kamara.
Arial view of the dam.