President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has dedicated a 60kw micro-hydro plant in Yandohun, Lofa County with a plead for beneficiaries to jumpstart economically viable activities using cheap
electricity they now have to their disposal. She told residents of Yandohun and surrounding towns that power from the plant should not be used just for lighting their rooms and entertaining themselves but also for starting new kinds of businesses that will see them graduate from taking micro loans to becoming outstanding entrepreneurs. She performed the dedication rite at an elaborate ceremony held in Yandohun, Kolahun District Wednesday during her tour of Lofa County, which marked the beginning of the 2014 presidential nation-wide tour.
Residents of Yandohun commended the Government of Liberia for empowering them through the Micro-Hydro project and providing specialized skills to some locals who are now managing the project under the newly established Yandohun Electricity Development Cooperative, Incorporated.
The USD 540,000 project is a pilot implementation of the Rural & Renewable Energy Agency (RREA) programme of the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy sponsored by the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank. The new plant is located at the site of an old 30kilowatts mini dam built by a Peace Corp volunteer called Gary Duncan (with funding from USAID) in 1979 on the Yandohun River in Kolahun District. The mini dam has an output capacity of 60kw that can be upgraded to 84kw but is currently generating 22kw due to the water level at this time of the dry season. According to Plant Manager Sam Massaquoi, the three connected villages are consuming only 2.8kw and the excess energy can serve towns along the road from Yandohun to as far as Kolahun once funds are available for expansion of the distribution network.
Yandohun Electricity Development Cooperative, Incorporated is now providing power to 169 household in three villages and directly impacting the lives of more than 10,000 people. Paying only 200 Liberian Dollars per month for 5amp, owners of small businesses in Yandohun, Dangalahun I and Dangalahun II are now supplying bigger markets in the region with Coldwater, Ice and preservation services. It was revealed at the dedication ceremony that investors from other parts of the county are making plans to transfer some of their facilities or establish new ones in Yandohun to take advantage of the newly rehabilitated road and the availability of cheap and reliable power. President Sirleaf: “…this is why this Administration has continuously focused on the pillars of the Agenda for Transformation (Road, Power, Port & People) as the roadmap to economic prosperity. These are initiatives that enable our people help themselves because the government alone can’t do everything.”
President Sirleaf re-emphasized the economic relevance of providing cheap renewable power in rural areas while charging RREA and its donors to accelerate the implementation of the USD 50 million rural electrification programme.