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 will 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 has constructed cofferdams in the Churchill River that are now diverting the powerful Churchill River through a newly constructed (by others) spillway so construction of the North and South dams can be conducted in the dry. The hydroelectric facility’s main dam, the RCC structure known as North Dam, will be constructed first. The earthen South Dam will be tied into the powerhouse’s south transition dam.