The Itaipu hydroelectric plant established a new world record in annual power generation
The Itaipu Dam is a hydroelectric plant on the Paraná River located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2016, it produced 103,098,366 MWh, becoming the largest producer of electricity in the world in terms of annual generation. In the process, Itaipu registered monthly records in seven(!) out of twelve months of 2016, even recording the best December of all time with 8.9 million MWh produced. Due to this outstanding performance, the unprecedented goal of 100 million MWh set in 2012 by the board of the company became a reality. "We only did not know that this value would be exceeded in more than 3 million MWh", says Brazilian general director, Mr. Jorge Samek.
The Itaipu Dam, which is 196m high and 7.76km long, actually consists of a series of dams -a concrete wing dam, a main concrete dam, a rock-fill dam, and an earth-fill dam. Its construction started in 1971, reaching its peak in 1978. The monthly on-site concrete production reached 338,000 m³ and in total 12.3 million m³ were used, enough to build 210 football stadiums. Respectively, the quantities of steel and iron used would suffice for 380 Eiffel towers. It has an installed capacity of 14GW, with 20 generating units (half Brazilian, half Paraguayan), but due to the fact that it works at the limit of its physical capacity and at the peak of production, there is a planned investment of $500 million for its modernization.
The world’s most powerful dam supplies over 75% of Paraguay's total energy and nearly 25% of Brazil's. The 103.09 million MWh generated in 2016 would be enough to meet the energy needs of São Paulo for three years and five months, Rio de Janeiro for five years and eight months, and Salvador for 26 years and six months. The entire Latin America could be supplied with electricity for 35 days!
Progression of production since 1984 opening
1984: 276,529 MWh
1985: 6,327,274 MWh
1980s: 47,229,655 MWh.
1995: 77,212,396 MWh
1999: 90,001,900 MWh
2001: 79,307,075 MWh (year of severe drought)
2002: 82,914,269 MWh
2006: 92,689,936 MWh
2008: 94,684,781 MWh
2012: 98,287,128 MWh
2013: 98,630,035 MWh.
2014: 87,795,393 MWh (year of severe drought)
2015: 89,215,404 MWh
* Up to 2016, the Chinese plant of Three Gorges held the world record with 98.8 million MWh produced in 2014
Source: Itaipu Binacional