caption=The Itaipu Dam
official_name= Usina Hidrelétrica Itaipu Binacional
Foz do Iguaçu, BRA Ciudad del EstePAR
maint= Itaipu Binacional
length= 7 700 m
height= 196 m
began= February, 1971
May 5, 1984
reservoir_catchment= 1350 km²
The name "Itaipu" was taken from an isle that existed near the construction site. In the Guarani language, "Itaipu" means "the sound of a stone". The American composer
Philip Glasshas also written a symphonic cantatanamed Itaipu in honour of the structure.
Itaipu Binacional is a company that runs the largest operational
hydroelectric power plantin the world. [cite web | title = Power: World's biggest hydroelectric facility | work = USGS | url = http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/hybiggest.html | accessmonthday = May 18 | accessyear = 2006 ] It is a binational undertaking run by Braziland Paraguayat the Paraná Riveron the border section between the two countries, 15 km north of the Friendship Bridge. The project ranges from Foz do Iguaçu, in Brazil, and Ciudad del Estein Paraguay, in the south to Guaíra and Salto del Guaíra in the north. The installed generation capacity of the plant is 14 GW, with 20 generating units of 700 MW each. In the year 2000, it achieved its generating record of 93.4 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), which supplied 93% of the energy consumed by Paraguay and 20% of that consumed by Brazil as of 2005.
Negotiations between Brazil and Paraguay
The concept behind Itaipu Power Plant is the result of heavy negotiations between the two countries during the 1960s. The "Ata do Iguaçu" (Iguaçu Act) was signed on
July 22, 1966, by the Brazilian and Paraguayan Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Juracy Magalhãesand Sapena Pastor, respectively. This was a joint declaration of the mutual interest in studying the exploitation of the hydric resources that the two countries shared in the section of the Paraná Riverstarting from and including the "Salto de Sete Quedas" to the "Iguaçu River's" watershed. The Treaty that gave origin to the power plant was signed in 1973.
In 1970, the consortium formed by the companies
IECO(from the United States of America) and ELC Electroconsult S.p.A.(from Italy) won the international competition for the realization of the viability studies and for the elaboration of the construction project. Work began in February 1971. On April 26, 1973, Braziland Paraguaysigned the Itaipu Treaty, the legal instrument for the hydroelectric exploitation of the Paraná Riverby the two countries. On May 17, 1974, the Itaipu Binacional entity was created to administer the plant's construction. The works began in January of the following year
Paraná River rerouted
October 14, 1978, the Paraná Riverhad its route changed, which allowed a section of the riverbed to dry so the dam could be built there.
Agreement by Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina
An important diplomatic settlement was reached with the signing of the "Acordo Tripartite" by
Brazil, Paraguayand Argentina, on October 19 1979. This agreement established the allowed river levels and how much they could change as a result of the various hydroelectrical undertakings in the watershed that was shared by the three countries. At that time, the three countries were ruled by military dictatorships. Argentina was concerned that, in the event of a conflict, Brazil could open the floodgates, raising the water level in de la Plata River and consequently flooding the capital city of Buenos Aires.
Formation of the lake
The plant's reservoir began its formation on
October 13 1982, when the dam works were completed and the side canal's gates were closed. Throughout this period, water rose 100 meters (330 ft) and reached the gates of the spillwayat 10:00 AM on October 27due to the heavy rains and flooding that took place at the time.
tart of operations
May 5, 1984, the first generation unit started running in Itaipu. The first 18 units were installed at the rate of two to three a year; the last two of these started running in the year 1991.
Capacity expansion in 2007
The last two of the 20 units started operations in September 2006 and in March 2007, thus raising the installed capacity to 14,000 MW and completing the power plant. This increase in capacity will allow for 18 generation units to remain running all of the time while two stay down for maintenance. Due to a clause in the treaty signed between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, the maximum number of generating units allowed to operate simultaneously can not exceed 18 (see the agreement section for more information).
The rated nominal power of each generating unit (turbine and generator) is 700 MW. However, because the head (difference between reservoir level and the river level at the foot of the dam) that actually occurs is higher than the design head, the power available exceeds 750 MW half of the time.
Each turbine generates around 700 megawatts; for comparison, all the water from the
Iguaçu Fallswould have capacity to feed only two generators.
Of the currently 18 generator units installed, 9 of them generate in 50
Hz, the grid frequency of Paraguay and 9 generate in 60 Hz, the Brazilian grid frequency. There's also a power converter on the Brazilian side that allows the transformation of 50 Hz into 60 Hz energy that is not used in Paraguay.
"Wonder of the Modern World"
In 1994, the [http://www.asce.org/asce.cfm American Society of Civil Engineers] elected the Itaipu Dam as one of the [http://www.asce.org/history/seven_wonders.cfm Seven Wonders of the Modern World] . In 1995, the American magazine "
Popular Mechanics" published the results.
When construction of the dam began, approximately 10,000 families living beside the Paraná River were dislodged from their plots in order to make way for the dam. Many of these families sought refuge in the town of Medianeira, a town not far from the confluence of the Iguaçu and Paraná rivers. Some of these families eventually came to be members of one of Brazil's largest social movements, the MST, or
Landless Workers Movement. [Branford, Sue and Jan Rocha. Cutting the Wire: The Story of the Landless Movement in Brazil. London: Latin American Bureau, 2002.]
*The course of the seventh biggest river in the world was shifted; as was 50 million tonnes of earth and rock.
*The amount of
concreteused to build the Itaipu Power Plant would be enough to build 210 football stadiums the size of the Estádio do Maracanã.
ironand steelused would allow for the construction of 380 Eiffel Towers.
*The volume of excavation of earth and rock in Itaipu is 8.5 times greater than that of the
Channel Tunneland the volume of concrete is 15 times greater.
*Around forty thousand people worked in the construction Fact|date=February 2007.
Generating station and dam
*The total length of the dam is 7235 m, with the crest elevation of 225 m. It is actually several dams joined together - from the far left, an earthfill dam, a rockfill dam, a concrete main dam, and a concrete wing dam to the right.
*The maximum flow of Itaipu's fourteen segmented
spillways is 62.2 thousand cubic metres per second. It is equivalent to 40 times the average flow of the Iguaçu Falls.
*The flow of two generators (700 m³·s−1 each) is roughly equivalent to the average flow of the Falls (1500 m³·s−1).
*If Brazil were to use Thermal Power Generation to produce the
electric powerof Itaipu, convert|434000|oilbbl|m3 of petroleumwould have to be burned every day.
*The dam is 196 metres high, equivalent to a 65-story building. [cite web |title= Itaipu binacional - Technical data - Comparisons |url= http://www.itaipu.gov.br | accessmonthday = February 16 | accessyear = 2007 ]
*Though it is the seventh largest reservoir in size in Brazil, the Itaipu's reservoir has the best relation between production and flooded area. For the 14,000 MW installed power, 1350
square kilometres were flooded. The reservoirs for the hydroelectric power plants of "Sobradinho", "Tucuruí", "Porto Primavera", "Balbina", "Serra da Mesa" and "Furnas" are all larger than the one for Itaipu, but have a smaller installed capacity. The one with the largest energy production, Tucuruí, has an installed capacity of 8,000 MW, but it had to flood 2,430 square kilometres of land.
Three Gorges Dam
Belo Monte Dam
Energy policy of Brazil
* [http://www.itaipu.gov.br/ Itaipu Company Site] (in Portuguese, English, and Spanish)
* [http://www.solar.coppe.ufrj.br/itaipu Introduction]
* [http://www.solar.coppe.ufrj.br/itaipu_conv.html Power conversion]
* [http://www.solar.coppe.ufrj.br/itaipu_ee.html Power conditioning]
* [http://www.abb.com/global/gad/gad02181.nsf/0/20ec7c132693a592c1256d8800401a73?OpenDocument The Itaipu Transmission System]
* [http://www.power.alstom.com/ Alstom, one of the hydro turbines and generators manufacturer for this project]
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