Historical production: Itaipu breaks unprecedented 100 million MWh mark
Itaipu Binacional is the world’s first hydropower plant to generate, in less than a year 100 million megawatt-hours (MWh). The mark was reached on Tuesday (20), at 11:16 pm (Brazilian Summer Time), 11 days before closing 2016. The volume of energy generated from January to now is 33% higher than that provided for in the Itaipu Treaty, which established a guaranteed production of 75 million MWh per year.
Members of the board of directors, engineers and technicians at the Control Room of Itaipu.
The unprecedented 100 million MWh goal was challenged at the end of 2012, when Itaipu reached 98,287,128 MWh. Four years later, the goal was not only achieved but could be exceeded by more than 2.5 million MWh by the end of the year, taking into account the average daily production recorded in December.
The 100 million MWh produced until Tuesday by the Itaipu plant would be sufficient to supply the Brazilian electricity market for a period of two months and 16 days; Paraguay, in turn, if it could store all this energy, could supply its market for seven years and 17 days.
Since January Itaipu has been beating successive records. On Saturday (17), it was once again the world’s largest annual producer of electric power, surpassing the Chinese Three Gorges plant, which produced 98.8 million MWh in 2014. This deed by Itaipu is added to it being the largest plant in accumulated production, with more than 2.4 billion MWh since it came into operation in 1984.
In Full Swing
After 32 years and seven months of its start-up, Itaipu is currently at the peak of production and productivity, with maximum use of water resources. This year, Itaipu’s production was enough to supply no less than 18% of the entire Brazilian electricity market and 82% of the Paraguayan market.
“The increase in generation of Itaipu – and also of most Brazilian hydroelectric plants, benefited by the regularization of the rains in the country this year, helps to reduce Brazilian consumer spending on electricity,” says the Brazilian director general of Itaipu, Jorge Samek. According to him, “this is one of the main positive impacts generated by the growth of hydroelectricity this year in the Country. Itaipu has a great participation in the promotion of this matrix.”
From April to October, the system of tariff flags adopted by the National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL) has been changed to green, which in practice means that the extra charges foreseen in the yellow and red flags are no longer charged. Now in December, the government again signaled that the green flag will be in effect throughout the summer.
The production of hydroelectric plants between January and November 2016 was 7.3 higher than in the same period last year, according to the National System Operator. Itaipu participates with 22% of all the hydroelectric power of the National Interconnected System (the index is 18% when the other electric matrices – biomass, wind, fossil, hydro, nuclear and solar are also considered).
Only in the first 11 months of the year, Itaipu produced 94.2 million MWh and dispatched to Brazil 83.4 million MWh (the difference was the energy sent to Paraguay). The increase in production compared to the same period last year was 15%.
Power of Brazil
The electricity generating complex in Brazil has 4,620 undergoing operations, including all sources, whether renewable or not. Together, they add up to the installed capacity of 149,730 MW. The Brazilian side alone (half of the plant belongs to Paraguay), with 7 thousand MW of installed capacity represents almost 5% of the entire Brazilian generation complex.
More than half of the installed capacity of the Brazilian generating complex – or, more precisely 61% - comes from the hydroelectric plants, the UHEs. Most of the energy consumed by the country is still guaranteed by them. In addition, the installed capacity of the 218 Brazilian hydroelectric plants – including Itaipu – amounts to 91,459 MW. The 7 thousand MW of the generating units on the Brazilian side of the binational correspond to 7.6% of this group’s total installed capacity.
On May 17, 1974, the Itaipu binational company was created to manage the work and, in the future, to manage the hydroelectric project. It would begin there the saga of the construction of a megacity that mobilized thousands of people and billions of dollars, and transformed part of West Paraná and all of Paraguay. Result of intense diplomatic negotiations, Itaipu is also a great work of political, financial and legal engineering, even before the projects got started.