Record-breaking 2016 for Itaipu hydro plant, plans unveiled to ensure future operation

26 January 2017

The Itaipu hydroelectric plant  on the Brazil, Paraguay border ended 2016 with a historic production of 103,098,366MWh – a new world record in annual generation, Itaipu Binacional has announced, while also revealing plans to ensure the plant’s continued production over the next 50 years.

With this production, Itaipu is once again the largest producer of electricity in the world, in terms of annual production. The world record was previously held by China’s Three Gorges, which produced 98.8 million MWh in 2014.

This historic production was registered in early summer, when the thermal sensation in some cities in Southeast Brazil and in Asunción, Paraguay, reached 50 degrees Celsius. At the peak of the heat, the Paraguayan-Brazilian plant ensured the energy supply for the markets of the two countries.

In the twelve months of 2016, Itaipu had registred monthly records in seven of them: January, February, May, June, October, November and December. April, July, August and September were in second place in the historical monthly ranking, and March took third place.

 "The record shows the maturity of Itaipu, which is preparing for a new step from 2017 at the peak of its production and productivity. Once again, the plant has shown its strength to contribute effectively in the development of Brazil and Paraguay," said Brazilian director-general, Jorge Samek.

With twenty generating units and 14,000 MW of installed capacity, Itaipu is at the limit of its physical capacity and at the peak of production. To ensure that the plant keeps the performance over the next few decades, an ambitious plan will be implemented to upgrade the generating units. With planned investment of $500 million, the modernization process willtake at least ten years, combining optimized production, preventive maintenance and technological updating. 

"The plan was built in the last five years, by Brazilian and Paraguayan teams, with the contribution of the first generation of Itaipu engineers, engineers who know the plant, its operation and maintenance. The idea is to keep the plant competitive until the next century," said Samek.

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