Simon Taylor has been working with the Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA) in Liberia leading a team investigating the potential of the River Sinoe for small hydropower development. The project site is located to the east of Greenville City in Sinoe County in a pristine environment near the old Sinoe Rubber Corporation factory but is cut-off from the capital Monrovia, taking 16 hours to reach in the rainy season due to the poor condition of the dirt roads. This remoteness has traditionally hampered Greenville’s and the surrounding areas’ prospects for development.
As a medium-sized river and with a water drop of approximately 5 m, the project has been sized at 2 MW capacity to supply electricity to Greenville as well as communities along the road, thereby benefiting almost 10,000 people and hundreds of enterprises and small businesses. Greenville is a small but busy city on the coast that has not had a sustainable supply of electricity since the civil war in 1990 and it has huge potential to develop through electrification. Local activities that would be supported would be fisheries, cold storage, food processing, agricultural development, tourism, woodworking and traders, stores and SMEs as well as its port, the third largest in Liberia. The usual public amenities such as water pumping, streetlighting, schools, the hospital and clinics, hotels and guesthouses would also benefit from the electrification plan and bring the chance for Greenville to develop into an enterprising hub for the SE of Liberia.
The multi-disciplined team being led by Simon has skills in surveying, hydrology, geology, hydropower engineering, environmental and social studies, project management, economics and procurement and has spent the last 2 months of 2018 in the field undertaking the required specialist studies to determine the preferred layout of the project that respects the community use of the river. Extensive community consultations have been carried out in the Wedjah and Numopoh areas near the project site and in Greenville City itself and it is hoped the project can be constructed by 2022.