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Connecting Villages to Power Grid; Transco-CLSG Races Against Time By Wade Williams Washington D. C-

Connecting Villages to Power Grid; Transco-CLSG Races Against Time

By Wade Williams

Washington D. C- Mr. Mohammed M. Sheriff a Liberian Economist and the current Director General of Regional Transmission Company of the West African Power Pool (TRANSCO CLSG) an energy company powering the Manor River Union (Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire) has disclosed that the company has launched bids for the transmission line under the World Bank and European Investment Bank Package.

Mr. Sheriff said governments of Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea received financing from the World Bank, the European Bank and the African Development Bank in various currencies towards the CLSG interconnection project.

Part of the proceeds of the financing is expected to be applied to eligible payments under the EPC contracts for the Transmission Line construction works for the four lots which include: Lot 1: 225 KV TL Yekepa (Liberia) Buchanan (229km, financed by World Bank), Lot 2: 225 KV TL Buchanan (Liberia) Monrovia Mano (Liberia)

(219km, financed by EIB), Lot 3: 225 KV TL Kenema (Sierra Leone) Bikongor (Sierra Leone) (211km, financed by European Investment Bank), Lot 4: 225 KV TL Bigonkor (Sierra Leone) and Bumbuna (Sierra Leone) Yiben (Sierra Leone) (219km, financed by European Investment Bank).

The company has invited sealed bids from pre-qualified eligible bidders for the construction and completion of the transmission line.

He said international competitive bidding will be concluded in accordance with the World Bank and European Investment Bank bidding processes.

The bidding process runs through March 24, 2016 and bids will be opened in the presence of bidders’ representatives who choose to attend at 11: am local time on March 24, 2016 at the offices of TRANSCO CLSG.

Affordable energy

Sheriff said the company’s aim is to provide accessible and affordable electricity to people of the region, something that is lacking at the moment.

Sheriff said the CLSG project was conceived from a concept from the four West African states- Liberia Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cote D’Ivoire as a response to the needs of the people of the four countries.

He said the current cost of electricity in these countries especially Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is very high, therefore a problem for many businesses and individuals. He said with the completion of the project between the four countries, the cost of electricity will reduce drastically.

“The ordinary people of the region would able to pay for their electricity for their children to study and they can also carry out businesses,” said Sheriff.

Continued the CLSG boss: “For instance, the cost of electricity in Liberia is so high at US$57 cents per kilowatts hour; the highest in the world. But if you take Cote D’Ivoire for example, they have excess electricity in the region.”

He said the company envisions that by the time the powerlines are connected across the four countries, it would be a vehicle to transport electricity from someone who has more to someone who does not have access to power at a price that would be about 60-70% cheaper than what it is now.

“The heads of States decided to mandate the West African Power Pool to make connecting these four countries part of their masterplan, so that in one country where you have cheap, excess and clean electricity which is mainly from hydro and gas turbines and take it to people who really need it,” he said.

Speaking in an interview with LibPolitics in Washington D. C. recently, Mr. Sheriff noted that on March 5, 2012, an international treaty was signed to establish TRANSCO-CLSG which is basically mandated to implement the CLSG project.

He told LibPolitics that the Project is 1,300km linking Cote D’Ivoire, from Mahn to Danane, from Danane to Yekepa, from Yekepa to Buchanan, from Buchanan to Mount Coffee, from Mt. Coffee to Bo Waterside; from Bo to Kenema and from Kenema through the rest of Sierra Leone and also connecting Guinea.

Meanwhile, in November 2015, the governments of Liberia and the United States through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) sign a $257 million partnership agreement in Washington D. C to complete funding for the rehabilitation of the Mt. Coffee Hydro power plant.

The compact includes funding for the rehabilitation of the Mt. Coffee Hydroelectric Plant, development of a training center for technicians in the electricity sector, support for the creation of an independent energy sector regulator and support for the development of a nationwide road maintenance framework according to the MCC.

The total grant initially penned on October 2, 2015 totals $256,726,000 and seeks to address two binding constraints to economic growth in Liberia which are the lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity and inadequate road infrastructure. The five-year compact will see Liberia and its traditional ally the United States through the MCC combine infrastructure investments with policy and institutional reforms to modernize the country’s power sector and strengthen its road maintenance systems.

With these development in the energy sector, Liberia which has faced many challenges as it relates to adequate access to power supply since the civil war, seems to on the right trajectory as it relates to alleviating its energy problem. The CLSG a regional Transmission Company established by the Economic community of West African states (ECOWAS) hopefully will distribute power to rural communities at affordable price.

Before heading the CLSG, in September 2014, Mr. Sheriff served as Chief Economist of the Ministry of Finance from 2012 June 2014 and also served as the Senior Economist at the Ministry of Finance from 2008 2012.