The dam was created as a flood-control and an energy-providing measure in the Artibonite river valley as part of the Artibonite Valley Agricultural Project in the 1930s. The dam was completed in 1956 by the US Army Corps of Engineers and Brown & Root thus creating Lake Péligre (essentially a large reservoir) in the process. The Peligre Hydroelectric Plant and its consequent operation was completed in 1971. The plant situated on the dam provides the country with most of its needed electricity.
Recently, spanning over the last few decades, a rapid rate of silt deposition has occurred in the Peligre Reservoir reducing the energy producing capability of the reservoir. The sedimentation is in large part due to the deforestation that has been plaguing the country over the years.
The power plant contains three 17 MW Francis turbine-generators for an installed capacity of 51 MW. The dam and power plant were damaged during the 2010 Haiti earthquake. In December 2010 international organization organized a US$48.8 million rehabilitation of the power station and dam.