Muskrat Falls North and South Dams
To tap an accessible, plentiful, clean, and renewable energy source for Newfoundland and Labrador’s citizens and businesses, Nalcor Energy began years ago to explore the best way to harness the power of the lower Churchill River in central Labrador. In late 2012, the provincial government gave Nalcor the green light to construct an 824 MW hydroelectric facility at Muskrat Falls. Construction began almost immediately. The contract for the North and South dams that flank the powerhouse and spillway was one of the last in the program to be awarded.
In September 2015, Barnard Pennecon LP accepted the challenge posed by the contract to construct a 32-meter-high (105-foot), 432-meter-long (1,417-foot) roller-compacted concrete (RCC) dam adjacent to the north end of the spillway and a 20-meter-high (65-foot), 325-meter-long (1,066-foot) earthfill dam on the powerhouse’s south side. In addition to providing ample energy for the Province’s future, Nalcor and Barnard Pennecon are providing local job opportunities on this complex project. Barnard Pennecon constructed cofferdams in the Churchill River that diverted the powerful Churchill River through a spillway (constructed by others) so construction of the North and South dams could be conducted in the dry. The earthen South Dam, constructed first, ties into the powerhouse’s south transition dam. RCC placement on the North Dam, the hydroelectric facility's main dam, began in July 2017. RCC placement occurred over two seasons, and in February 2019, the Barnard Pennecon team celebrated the dam's successful completion.