Thermometers nearly topped out at 40ºC and it felt like 47ºC on the last day of the year in Rio de Janeiro. Demand for electricity was higher than expected during 2013. The outcome: Itaipu surpassed the 98.5 million MWh predicted for the year. The world record for generation of electricity, set on the 30th, was even higher. Itaipu closed the year with historic production of 98,630,035 megawatts/hour (MWh).
“Consumption is what drives our production,” summarized Itaipu’s superintendent of operations Celso Torino. “It’s the people at home turning on their equipments who define how much we’re going to generate.” According to him, the System National Operator’s prediction for the 31st was surpassed due to high consumption mainly in the capital of Rio de Janeiro. “On the last two days, we were adjusting production in real time to meet the strong demand,” he concluded.
2013 production beat the previous record from 2012, which was 98,287,128 MWh. Over its entire history, since 1984, when Itaipu began operating, the dam has generated 2,135,680,660 MWh. In terms of its participation in the electricity market, in 2013, Itaipu met 16.9% of Brazilian demand and 75% of the Paraguayan market.
According to the Brazilian general director of Itaipu, Jorge Samek, a series of factors contributed to the hydroelectric dam achieving such historic production in 2013. “We do ongoing professional development work with our staff and count on the dedication of all our teams to use the water as best as we can," he stated. “Add to that the positive period the economies of Paraguay and Brazil are experiencing, increasing demand for electricity.”
The Next Level
2013 production not only set a new world record, it consolidated new performance heights first seen last year. Comparing the 2013 and 2012 average to production in 2008 (third-place in terms of generation), there has been an increase of nearly four million MWh. Then, comparing the average for the five previous years with the 2012-2013 two-year-period, there has been a seven million MWh increase, or half the annual consumption of Brazil’s second largest city, Rio de Janeiro.
“We've changed measuring sticks, taking things to the next level,” Samek said. According to him, if the high energy consumption and rain pattern continue, there is a tendency for them to maintain this high level of production.
According to Celso Torino, the new level of production was made possible by a series of internal technical improvements to the hydroelectric plant, involving operation, maintenance, engineering and construction, in addition to greater coordination with Itaipu’s external partners, Eletrobras, ONS, Furnas and Copel in Brazil, and Ande in Paraguay.
Some statistics comparing 2013 generation:
2013’s production is enough electricity to meet demand in:
- Brazil for 79 days;
- the city of São Paulo for three years and four months;
- the city of Rio de Janeiro for six years and seven months.
- Argentina for nine months and 22 days;
- Paraguay for eight years;
- all of Latin America (except Brazil) for 89 days.
- China for seven days;
- the United States for nine days;
- India for one month and nine days;
- Japan for one month and five days;
- Portugal for one year and 11 months;
- Germany for two months;
- France for two months and 14 days;
- the United Kingdom for three months and 12 days;
- Spain for four months and 16 days.
Or the entire world for approximately two days.