At long last, the long awaited Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant was finally switched on by President Ellen Johnson with a promise for an upgraded electricity supply to Liberians around the country. The Ebola crisis hindered the Government of Liberia’s ability to provide the originally committed amount of US$45 million. Therefore, additional financing was sought in 2015.
As a result, the Millennium Challenge Compact was signed between the U.S. Government (through MCC) and the GOL on October 2, 2015 for a grant towards the Mt. Coffee Project of $146.8 million including contingency, plus additional support for environmental/social activities. At a ceremony marking the switching on of the Hydro Power plant after 26 years, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf mentioned that the government is taking actions to strengthen the capacity of the LEC to ensure that Liberia electricity is not Monrovia based but a national electricity company that must respond to the need of Liberian entities and people all over the country. “We want all of our enterprises to obtain electricity because we have recognized that demand is still far behind the even limited supply of electricity,” President Sirleaf stated, noting that such demand must encompass home electricity, demand for small and medium size enterprises that are struggling to provide the needed service, demand for large corporations, entertainment centers, hospitals and large operations in the form of concessions. “Putting them on the grid means we have more financial capabilities for LEC”, the Liberian leader said. President Sirleaf noted that government has come a long way with the generation aspect of supply. “We have the Heavy Fuel Oil plant that is now functional, providing 38 megawatts; and it will be joined by the Hydro with 88 megawatts capacity, making it 126 megawatts,” she said. For his part, Lands Mines and Energy Minister Patrick Sendolo described the project as a cathedral of progress and development. “This construction of the plant turns what was the result of our savage war into a magnificent living cathedral of progress and development”, Sendolo mentioned. “We have built a hydro power plant here but what we have really constructed is a monument to our resolve to look forward to a brave new future. We have built a hydro power plant here but we have also erected a temple of a new religion of diversity and hope,” he said. “No one deserves more credit for this hydro power plant than the ordinary Liberian people whose patience, understanding, cooperation, prayers, and hard work have contributed to the success we enjoy today”, he added. He said the government of Liberia in collaboration with development partners set out to construct a hydro power plant but ended up constructing so much more. “The completion of Mount Coffee is perhaps the finest manifestation of Liberians taking what epitomizes the totality of the destruction brought by war and overcoming it,” he said.