The 824-MW Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station, part of the Lower Churchill Project, is complete and has been released to the Newfoundland and Labrador System Operator (NLSO) for service.
Muskrat Falls Corporation received notice of acceptance of the commissioning certificate by the independent engineer, who provides oversight on behalf of the federal government, on Nov. 25.
While the Labrador-Island Link (LIL) is not yet commissioned, the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station will provide power over LIL throughout this winter as it is available. LIL availability provides additional assurance for customer reliability, even at partial capacity.
“While we do not require power from Muskrat Falls to serve customers this winter, we will use as much power as possible to reduce the fuel costs at Holyrood and reduce carbon emissions,” said Jennifer Williams, president and chief executive officer of Hydro. “But there is still more work to be done to conclude all aspects of the project, even as we take this step toward final project completion. We want to see this project complete. Our customers want to see this project complete. We continue to work diligently toward completion of our final milestone throughout the winter.”
Hydro said it continues to work with the provincial government to finalize the rate mitigation plan and, together with the federal government, to implement the financial restructuring of the project. Electricity customers will not yet see an impact on their bills. “We know customers are concerned about electricity rates,” said Williams. “Our priority is to provide safe, reliable service to customers at the lowest possible cost as we manage the provincial electricity system. Customers will not see any rate impacts from Muskrat Falls until sometime into 2022, and rates will not double.”
In total, 48.9 million person-hours have been completed on the generating station by hardworking people, the vast majority of which were from this province. The generating station was completed with a dedicated focus on safety and health, which was shared by workers, contractors and the project team and resulted in 15 million person-hours worked on the generation project since the last lost time incident.
The Lower Churchill Project includes construction of Muskrat Falls, which will produce 5 TWh of energy annually, over 1,600 km of transmission lines across the province, and associated electrical equipment.