(Redirected from ECOWAS Gateway-Liberia)
Liberia: Energy Profile
|Energy Consumption||0.01 Quadrillion Btu|
|2-letter ISO code||LR|
|3-letter ISO code||LBR|
|Numeric ISO code||430|
|UN Region||Western Africa|
|Energy Maps||0 view|
|Energy Organizations||0 view|
|Research Institutions||0 view|
|CIA World Factbook, Appendix D|
|Wind Potential||0||Area(km²) Class 3-7 Wind at 50m||135||1990||NREL|
|Coal Reserves||Unavailable||Million Short Tons||N/A||2008||EIA|
|Natural Gas Reserves||0||Cubic Meters (cu m)||116||2010||CIA World Factbook|
|Oil Reserves||0||Barrels (bbl)||N/A||2010||CIA World Factbook|
Energy Maps featuring Liberia
No Maps For This Location
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.
The AfDB is providing US$ 29 million for the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee hydroelectric power plant and another plant in Lofa County. The government signed an agreement with Buchanan Renewable Power, a Canadian company, to construct and operate an electricity-generating plant estimated cost US$ 150 million. One 35 MW capacity plant is to generate power from burning wood chips from old rubber trees to supply electricity to Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. As of 1 July 2010, Manitoba Hydro International Ltd. is contracted to work with the LEC to improve its operational and financial performance. According to the agreement, donor funding countries will provide the capital for the reconstruction and expansion of the LEC.The amount earmarked for the reconstruction and expansion projects is set at US$ 53.5 million, to be disbursed over the next five years. The funding partners will include Norway, USAID and the World Bank. In addition, the government in December 2011, applied for international donor assistance for the Liberia Electricity Sector Enhancement Project, particularly for the purchase of new transmission infrastructure. Catalysing New Renewable Energy in Rural LiberiaThe government has applied to the World Bank to fund a program of Catalysing New Renewable Energy in Rural Liberia. The renewable energy program seeks bids to build the Yandohun project and the electricity networks necessary to serve Yandohun village in Liberia's Lofa County. The work is set to take 12 months. Liberia Energy Sector Support Program (LESSP)The LESSP, commenced in 2010 and funded by USAID, will increase access to affordable renewable and clean energy supplies, and address climate change. Its projected activities are: Assisting the government to increase access to energy services, by;Strengthening the management capacity of the LEC; Improving environment for private sector participation and investments; Increasing the use of renewable and clean energy technologies, especially in rural areas. Increasing the LEC customer base from 1,500 to about 2,500 within year one and at an accelerated rate thereafter;Coordinating efforts with other donors, notably Norway and The World Bank, to increase low-voltage connections in order to better utilise current generation capacity in Monrovia, and enable the 35 MW of private power expected to be on line by March 2011;Promoting women-owned enterprises in the delivery of rural energy services, and encouraging female operators and managers of small power plants;Coordinating with other USAID projects to further encourage economic development.
The broad policy questions confronting the government in the petroleum sector include:Should Liberia develop an oil trading capability to purchase petroleum products when the price is low, as an alternative to investing in a completely new oil refinery?What financial advantages, if any, does the Republic of Liberia gain from owning petroleum product storage facilities? Should it sell these facilities through a competitive process?Taking into consideration the negative effects on machinery of poor quality fuel, what steps need to be taken to strengthen quality control on the importation of fuel?Would the privatization of the retail sale of petroleum products inevitably lead to unemployment?Are there any improvements that Liberia could make in the functions of NOCAL, to enhance its role in the exploration and production of petroleum and to assist NOCAL in achieving its objectives?Should there be any revision in the methods Liberia currently employs to tender oil/gas exploration and development contracts? In so far as institutional restructuring is required, it is anticipated that the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy must be adjusted internally so as to better emphasise its obligation to monitor and constructively address the challenges in the energy sector. At a minimum, it is anticipated that the MLME will enhance its structure to provide for a Deputy Minister for Energy, with staff dedicated to energy development and its attendant issues.
Total installed generating capacity (2010): 24.6 MWTotal primary energy supply (2008): 2,350 ktoeBiomass: 92%Oil and oil products: 8% The generation capacity of Liberia primarily consists of the Emergency Power Program (EPP), created in 2006 to re-establish electricity services in the capital, Monrovia. 9.6 MW has been installed as of 2010. The remainder of Liberia's generation capacity is in the form of independent diesel generators, estimated to have a capacity of 15 MW. The majority of commercial enterprises and institutions generate their own power. Electricity generation in 2008 stood at 353 GWh, with a per capita consumption of 87 kWh. The current energy situation in Liberia is characterised by a dominance of traditional biomass consumption and low access to poor quality and relatively expensive electricity. This is due to the underdeveloped economy, whose infrastructure was extensively destroyed during the 14 years of civil crisis As in many Sub-Saharan African countries, woody biomass is the primary energy source for domestic cooking and heating. In 2004, it was estimated that over 95% of the population relied on firewood, charcoal, and palm oil for their energy needs, and in 2008, the proportion had remained much the same. Electricity and petroleum products are mainly used for industry and transportation. Kerosene, electricity, and liquefied petroleum gas are used for lighting, cooking, and entertainment by higher income households in urban areas. Before the civil crisis, the total installed electricity generation capacity, including the private sector, was about 412 MW. In addition, Liberia’s mining and resource concessionaires have significant installed capacity, although the exact amount was not known as of 2010.
The NEP indicates that the Division of Electricity and Renewable Energy shall have the following functions:1. formulating electricity sector policy and plans, including the development and review of policies, quality standards, and master plans for grid, off-grid and renewable energy investments, 2. providing licenses for generation, transmission, distribution, and supply of electricity, 3. taking responsibility over public and private sector operators in the sub-sector, such as LEC, the RREA, the St. Paul River Authority (SPRA) or the Liberian River Authority (LRA). Grid Power Unit This unit is to be set up once the volume of work justifies the need for dedicated staff. The counterpart Off-Grid Power and Renewable Energy Unit is expected to be established concurrently. The Grid and Off-Grid units are expected to be the responsible agencies for the government’s policy-setting in their respective sub-sectors.
Under the current legislation, the Liberia Electricity Corporation is the only institution responsible for the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity under policy guidance of the MLME. Due to the LEC monopoly, private investments have not been attracted to the electricity sub-sector. The National Energy Policy (NEP), however, has stressed the need for the liberalization of the electricity market. The LEC is a state-owned institution, as are both the NOCAL and the LPRC.
The inefficient use of traditional woody biomass by over 95% of the population poses environmental and health problems through deforestation and indoor air pollution. At the same time, the unsustainable use of forest resources affects the environment and future viability of the country’s hydro-electric resources. Demand for charcoal and firewood will continue to grow in the absence of electricity and energy efficiency measures. In the supply-side, the contribution of efficient energy sources is minimal, with the vast majority of generation still running on imported petroleum fuels. With over 97% of the commercial sector relying on self-generation, efficiency is compromised. The dissemination of more efficient biomass stoves is also seen as a key factor in improving residential sector efficiency.
The ongoing civil unrest has caused severe distribution problems and shortages. A large portion of the LEC’s generation and distribution infrastructure was damaged or destroyed during the civil war. LEC estimates that it will cost more than US$107 million and take five years to repair the generation and distribution system. Distribution losses in 2008 stood at 24.8%. Liberia has some of the highest power tariffs in Africa, mainly due to the reliance on expensive imported petroleum fuels for power generation, and the extremely small scale generation. Power tariffs in 2009 stood at US$ 0.43/kWh, this does not reflect the actual cost of power generation, which is estimated at US$ 0.77/kWh, of which US$ 0.63 relates to operating costs alone. Capital subsidies from the donors who provided the power system grant are being used to fulfil the difference. Improved power interconnections, for example with the Ivory Coast and Guinea, could readily address this issue.Whilst there is no reliable data on electricity consumption in Liberia, estimates of demand range from 11 to 25 MW. Liberia’s First State of the Environment Report forecasts demand will rise an average of 10% annually by 2010, and then decrease to 3.4% annually until 2020. A recent forecast by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) projects total demand for Monrovia and its environs of 19 MW by 2010, 34 MW by 2015, and 41 MW by 2020. Some consider that these forecasts are conservative and that demand in Liberia could be in excess of 350 MW by 2020.
The Energy Security Group (ESG), which joined the International Resources Group (IRG) in March 2007, is providing policy support. Toward this end, the ESG is working with IRG to develop a national energy sector policy, which will include a rural development and renewable energy component. An Action Plan for Renewable Energy and Rural Development was prepared by the ESG with the support of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET, http://csetliberia.org), for the Liberian Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy in 2008. The CSET is a non-governmental development organization, involved in energy and development research, and related policy interventions for sustainable development and poverty reduction in Liberia. The Centre serves as a resource hub for the dissemination of information on clean energy technologies, with emphasis on renewable energy as alternative energy sources. CSET is affiliated with the government through the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs.Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA)The Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA, www.rrea.gov.lr) was established after the adoption of the NEP in 2009. The RREA is expected to administer electrification to rural areas through renewable and least-cost energy technologies, including micro-hydro power, small biomass power plants, solar photovoltaics and other mini-grid and stand-alone systems.
Electricity marketUnder the current legislation, the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC, www.libelcorp.com) is responsible for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. LEC used to supply the major cities and towns that were connected to the grid or had stand-alone diesel plants. Additional power was produced by the various mining and agricultural concessions. The 14-year conflict resulted in damage to the energy infrastructure, such as power plants, substations, transmission lines, storage and depots. Following the end of the war and the inauguration of a new democratically-elected government, there have been steps to re-establish supply and re-commercialise LEC. Launched in 2006, the Emergency Power Program (EPP) was designed to re-establish public power supply as part of the political stabilization and economic reconstruction program. Several international partners, including USAID, Ghana, Norway, the European Union, and the World Bank provided over US$ 40 million in grant funding and technical assistance. There is no generation capacity outside Monrovia beyond privately-owned generators and scattered donor-funded pilot projects. A number of government agencies, community organizations and private sector establishments in rural locations have received diesel generators and solar power systems through USAID, the United Nations Development Programme, and some NGOs. Liquid fuels marketThe petroleum sector is operated through the Division of Hydrocarbons in the MLME and two government-owned parastatals – the “upstream” National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL, www.nocal-lr.com), and the “downstream” Liberia Petroleum Refining Corporation (LPRC, www.lprclib.com/). Prior to the establishment of NOCAL, MLME’s Division of Hydrocarbons played the lead role in negotiating agreements with international oil companies. With its creation in 2002, this responsibility was passed on to NOCAL. The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME) is now involved through the Inter-Ministerial Petroleum Technical Committee (IMPTC), which it chairs.
Degree of independence
The Ministry of Energy is a direct subsidiary of the government and is financed through the national budget.
Liberia is a member of the Economic Community of West African States, which is working towards greater regional cooperation in energy. ECOWAS has approved an Energy Protocol that outlines principles for cross-border energy trade and investment. The West African Power Pool and the West African Gas Pipeline present opportunities for the long-term development of Liberia’s large hydropower potential. Part of the development planned for Liberia under the WAPP project is the co-operative construction of the Mount Coffee and Mano River hydroelectric dams, with the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone respectively. These projects would then be connected with the partner countries via 220 kV lines, connecting Mount Coffee to the Danane substation, and the Mano River project with the existing substation at the Bumbuna hydroelectric project.
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.
Since Liberia has not yet discovered any crude oil and its only refinery is being decommissioned, all refined petroleum products and lubricants are imported. Yearly imports of approximately 175,000 metric tons consist predominantly of gasoline, diesel fuel, and to a lesser extent, jet fuel and kerosene. Total imports of oil and oil products in 2009 were estimated at 4,552 bbl/day. All biomass consumption in the country is supplied from indigenous sources.
Role of the government
Within the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy (MLME, www.molme.gov.lr), the Department of Energy, which consists of the Bureau of Hydrocarbons and the Bureau of Energy Technology and Policy Development, is in charge of linkages with energy-oriented organizations both state-controlled and privately owned. In addition, the department monitors and coordinates the energy sector (both conventional and non-conventional).
According to the NEP, the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy shall adopt a new organizational structure and therefore, its Department of Energy shall have at least three divisions managed by Assistant Directors – the Division of Hydrocarbons, with management responsibility over the petroleum sector; the Division of Electricity and Renewable Energy, to look after the electricity sector and promote the development of renewable energy resources, and the Division of Energy Policy and Planning to look after all cross-cutting issues.
The civil conflict had a devastating impact on the institutional and financial capacity of LEC. Due to the default on electric sector loans of US$114 million, international bilateral and multilateral donor agencies have put Liberia on a “stop list” for new electricity loans. To achieve the level of private investment desired in the energy sector, Liberia will have to overcome these obstacles:Investor perceptions of significant political risk; Determination of whether people’s capacity to pay justifies the large investment needed to meet un-served electricity demand (11-25MW); when this demand will occur; and future infrastructure requirements; Whether key customers with historically large arrears (the government, hospitals, schools and households) will pay their bills; and How to protect private investment. Development of the energy sector is still in its infancy following the recent conflicts, and regulation is still the responsibility of the government. The establishment of an independent energy regulator at this stage in sectoral development would lead to a fairer, more transparent and accountable sector in the future.
The government’s management of the energy sector is exercised through the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME). Under current legislation, there is no independent energy regulator. Where at the present time the government and its agencies play the role of regulator and provider concurrently.
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.
- Liberia-National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP)
- Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
- African Biofuel & Renewable Energy Fund (ABREF)
- Liberia-NREL Biomass Resource Assessment
- USAID West Africa Climate Program
- view all
- Liberia Renewable Energy Data from IEA
- Liberia Contacts from Climate-Eval
- LowCarbonWorld Profile for Liberia