“Ebola-free” Liberia Resumes Rehabilitation Project at 64-MW Hydroelectric Facility


 “Ebola-free” Liberia resumes US$230 million rehabilitation project at 64-MW Mount Coffee hydroelectric facility

Rehabilitation and upgrade work was suspended at the 64-MW Mount Coffee hydroelectric facility near Liberia’s capital city,Monrovia, on the Saint Paul River in early August 2014, following the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 4,600 people.

Now that the World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free on May 9, Voith Hydro-Heidenheim is preparing to resume work on a US$230 million rehabilitation project at the country’s only hydroelectric facility.

“Start-up of the modernized Mount Coffee hydropower plant is scheduled for the end of 2016,” said Christer Parkegren, Chief Executive Officer of Voith Hydro-Heidenheim.

“Following the Ebola epidemic, we are now getting ready to resume on-site work on the Mount Coffee project and are in close consultation with the Liberian government in this regard.”

For the project, according to Voith, the company will do the following:

− Modernize the plant’s Francis turbines; 
− Supply new generators; 
− Control technology; and
− Electrical and mechanical power plant equipment.

Voith thinks its work will increase the plant’s output ability by one third.

“Following the modernization, the power plant will supply more than a million people in Liberia with clean electricity from renewable resources,” said Liberian Energy Minister Patrick Sendolo during a visit to Voith facilities on May 11.

Energy from the run-of-river Mount Coffee hydroelectric facility once powered about 35% of households in the West African country, prior to sustaining damage in the 1990s during the Liberian Civil War that lasted from 1989-2003.

The Liberia Electricity Corp. said it signed a contract in May with Sweden-based ELTEL to install high-voltage transmission lines from Mount Coffee to the capital.

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Gregory B. Poindexter, MA, serves an associate editor for PennWell Hydro Group, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Poindexter has been a full-time journalist since 2005. Prior to joining PennWell, Poindexter owned and operated a communications company that produces organizational imagery. He holds a master's degree in mass communications from Oklahoma State University

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