May 20, 2015 / 6:59 AM / 5 years ago

Work to resume at Liberia hydro plant after Ebola outbreak

MONROVIA (Reuters) - Work on a hydropower project in Liberia is about to resume, the chief executive of Germany’s Voith Hydro Heidenheim said, as the country seeks to rebuild its economy after a devastating Ebola epidemic.

The Mount Coffee dam on the River Paul in Montserrado County once powered a third of households in the West African country.

However, an Ebola epidemic in Liberia that began a year ago interrupted work to rehabilitate the plant which was left battered by Liberia’s 1989-2003 civil war.

Liberia was declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization on May 9 after more than 4,700 people died of the disease.

“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,” Voith Hydro Heidenheim CEO Christer Pakegren said.

The Liberia Electricity Corporation also said it had signed a contract in May with a Sweden-based firm ELTEL to install high-voltage transmission lines from the plant to the capital Monrovia.

Repair work and improvements to increase the plant’s capacity by a third are due to be finished by the end of 2016. The pre-Ebola start date for the dam was Christmas 2015.

Liberia currently relies mostly on dirty and expensive diesel generators to source its power.

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