Itaipu Dam, or how a dam can supply the 75% of one American country´s energy

The Itapu Dam, situated on the border of Brazil and Paraguay, generated 89,5 Twh of energy in 2015, the most of any dam in the world

“The sounding stone” is the Guarani translation of the Itapu Dam, that bears the Paraná river, the 7th largest in the world, between Brazil and Paraguay. This dam, that uses 20 generators, supplies 20% of Brazil´s total energy with 14,000 MW of installed power supply. During 2013, the Itapu Dam, that has a max width of 12km,  reached it record generating 98,630 GWh, only exceeded by the Three Gorges Dam, in China.

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Panoramic view of the dam

If we talk about how this dam is a key energy resource, we find that Paraguay, recieves it´s 75% of electricity demand from Itaipu Dam, something that makes this country one of the most enviromentally friendly of the world.

But this data is not the only one that shows how important and big was the construction of this dam. During it construction, 12,3 million cubic meters of concrete were necessary, enough material to build 210 stadiums like Maracaná (110,000 spectators capacity). By the other hand, the steel used to build it, supposes enough steel to build 380 copies of the Eiffel Tower. Thus, it took 7 years and 40,000 workers to finish this giant project; reasons why, in 1995, the Popular Mechanics magazine named it has one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World.

Video by Extreme Machinery YouTube channel

Some technical datas:

  • Is the largest operational hydroelectric plant of the world. In fact, is built by 4 different dams connected.
  • Since 1984, when it was inaugurated, the Itaipu Dam has generated 2,223,197 GWh.
  • 20 generators, 10 for the Paraguayan side (50 Hz) and another 10 for the Brazilian side (60 Hz).
  • The 50 Hz units have a nominal power of 923,6 MVA.
  • The 60 Hz units have a nominal power of 737,0 MVA.

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 Inside the Itaipu Dam

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