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Official Name:
Republic of Liberia

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Mr. Christopher B. Kabah
+231 777308694

Energy profile

Liberia (2012)

Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

About 10% of urban residents and less than 2% of rural residents have electricity access, largely from self-generation using expensive imported fuel. As of 2010, however, the grid-connected population stood at just 0.1%.The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) operates two electric power systems, the Monrovia Grid and the Rural Electrification Network. The Monrovia Grid serves the capital, Monrovia and the surrounding area, and is the larger of the two systems. The Grid serves five of the country's thirteen counties and has over 40,000 customers. The Rural Electrification Network serves the remaining eight counties with small diesel systems. The distribution network is roughly 80 km.

Renewable energy potential

Solar energyAnnual solar insolation shows good prospects for photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. Though no official renewable resource assessment has been carried out, estimates suggest monthly average daily solar radiation on horizontal surfaces between 4.0 and 6.0 kWh/m2/day. As of 2009, installed solar capacity amounted to approximately 100 kW.Wind energyThere is little or no data available on wind speeds in Liberia, but it is situated in a low wind region, and except for mountainous and coastal areas, wind resources are expected to be relatively insignificant. Observations along the coastal regions have indicated good prospects for wind power.  Biomass energyThe country is endowed with considerable biomass resources. These include rubber, oil palm, pine and other trees, cassava, sugar-cane, elephant grass, coconuts, and residues from rice and wheat production. An NREL assessment in 2008 placed the potential contribution to electricity generation from crop residues at 6,000 GWh/year, and forest residues at over 15,000 GWh/year. The Liberia Energy Assistance Program (LEAP -  funded by the USAID), 2008 biomass resource assessment, revealed a variety of resources - more than enough to meet the annual electricity consumption of 297 GWh and oil consumption of 189.2 ktoe. The study further estimates that of the total cropland in Liberia, only 6% is currently cultivated, with remaining cropland of some three million hectares. While the contribution of food crop residues, animal manure and municipal solid waste is small in comparison to other resources within the country, they could play a valuable role in stand-alone electricity applications and for households in remote rural areas. The government is planning to install 7 MW of biomass-fired generation capacity in the country, through two projects. Geothermal energyThe geothermal potential of Liberia has not yet been analysed. Geological activity is thought to be low. HydropowerLiberia has an economic hydro-electric potential of around 1,000 MW. Liberia has six major rivers, which drain over 60% of the country’s water -including the Mano, Saint Paul, Lofa, Saint John, Cestos, and Cavalla Rivers. Short coastal waterways drain about 3% of the country’s water. This intensive drainage pattern indicates considerable potential for hydroelectric power in Liberia. Hydropower resources in Liberia have been seen as relatively costly to develop compared to other African sources, due to the highly seasonal flow of water, and the relatively flat terrain, which hinders the development of reservoirs, providing the need for significant back-up generation.

Energy framework

Liberia’s first comprehensive National Energy Policy (NEP) was adopted in  2009, and contains the national vision for the energy sector, from the emergency phase, which was completed in 2010, through capacity building and development phases, including the government management contract signed in early 2010 for the LEC. The principal objective of the NEP is to ensure universal access to modern energy services.The NEP addresses access, quality, cost and the institutional framework and the necessity for energy to be available, acceptable, affordable and adequate.  The NEP reaffirms the government’s conviction that economic development is impossible without access to reliable, accessible, affordable and environmentally friendly energy. Increased commercial energy access and use will contribute to the growth of Liberia’s economy. Under the NEP, the government will establish by legislation an institutional framework, incentives and financing mechanisms to facilitate affordable electricity supplies in remote and low-income rural communities. The development of private and community-owned rural energy service companies (RESCOs) shall be supported. The government also recognises the need to provide efficient non-electric energy resources or off-grid electricity for communities that cannot be connected to the grid in the near future due to affordability and resource constraints. Examples include high efficiency charcoal or biomass stoves for cooking and low-cost solar lights.  The government of Liberia has also recently created a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy and Action Plan of Liberia, implemented by the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technology. The main objectives of the policy and action plan are to: increase access to energy services, with particular references to poverty reduction,increase energy sector competition by facilitating government support through tax subsidies for renewables and energy efficiency scale-up,facilitate private sector investment/lending in the clean energy sector,increase investment in off-grid rural electrification through the deployment of renewable energy technologies,facilitate indigenous energy technologies that demonstrate clear cost advantage without jeopardizing quality, andorganise training to build local capacity for renewable issues.

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