|Official name||Central Hidroeléctrica Itaipú Binacional
Usina Hidrelétrica Itaipu Binacional
|Location||Foz do Iguaçu
|Construction began||January 1970|
|Opening date||5 May 1984|
|Construction cost||US$19.6 billion|
|Dam and spillways|
|Type of dam||Combination gravity, buttress and embankment sections|
|Height||196 m (643 ft)|
|Length||7,919 m (25,981 ft)|
|Volume||12,300,000 m3 (430,000,000 cu ft)|
|Spillway capacity||62,200 m3/s (2,196,572 cu ft/s)|
|Capacity||29,000,000,000 m3 (24,000,000 acre·ft)|
|Catchment area||1,350,000 km2 (520,000 sq mi)|
|Surface area||1,350 km2 (520 sq mi)|
|Reservoir length||170 km (110 mi)|
|Max. reservoir width||12 km (7.5 mi)|
|Hydraulic head||118 m (387 ft)|
|Turbines||20 × 700 MW Francis-type|
|Installed capacity||14,000 MW|
|Annual generation||98.2 TWh (2012)|
|Net generation||2,037 TWh (2012)|
The Itaipu Dam (Guarani: Itaipu, Portuguese: Itaipu, Spanish: Itaipú; Portuguese pronunciation: [itɐjˈpu], locally: [ita.iˈpu], Spanish pronunciation: [itaiˈpu]) is a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. The name "Itaipu" was taken from an isle that existed near the construction site. In the Guaraní language, Itaipu means "the sounding stone".
The dam is the largest operating hydroelectric facility in terms of annual energy generation, generating 94.7 TWh in 2008 and 91.6 TWh in 2009, while the annual energy generation of the Three Gorges Dam was 80.8 TWh in 2008 and 79.4 TWh in 2009. The dam's 14,000 MW installed capacity is second to the Three Gorges Dam's 22,500 MW, though. It is a binational undertaking run by Brazil and Paraguay at the Paraná River on the border section between the two countries, 15 km (9.3 mi) north of the Friendship Bridge. The project ranges from Foz do Iguaçu, in Brazil, and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, in the south to Guaíra and Salto del Guairá in the north. The installed generation capacity of the plant is 14 GW, with 20 generating units providing 700 MW each with a hydraulic design head of 118 m. In 2008 the plant generated a record 94.68 TWh, supplying 90% of the electricity consumed by Paraguay and 19% of that consumed by Brazil.
Of the twenty generator units currently installed, ten generate at 50 Hz for Paraguay and ten generate at 60 Hz for Brazil. Since the output capacity of the Paraguayan generators far exceeds the load in Paraguay, most of their production is exported directly to the Brazilian side, from where two 600 kV HVDC lines, each approximately 800 km long, carry the majority of the energy to the São Paulo/Rio de Janeiro region where the terminal equipment converts the power to 60 Hz.
Negotiations between Brazil and Paraguay 
The concept behind Itaipu Power Plant was 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 Magalhães and 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 River starting 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.
The terms of the treaty, which expires in 2023, have been the subject of widespread discontent in Paraguay. The government of President Lugo vowed to renegotiate the terms of the treaty with Brazil, which long remained hostile to any renegotiation.
In 2009, Brazil agreed to a fairer payment of electricity to Paraguay and also allowed Paraguay to sell excess power directly to Brazilian companies instead of solely through the Brazilian electricity monopoly.
Construction starts 
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, Brazil and Paraguay signed the Itaipu Treaty, the legal instrument for the hydroelectric exploitation of the Paraná River by 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. Brazil's (and Latin America's) first electric car was introduced in late 1974; it received the name "Itaipu" in honor of the project.
Paraná River rerouted 
On October 14, 1978, the Paraná River had 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, Paraguay and 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 the Río de la Plata and consequently flood 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, heavy rains and flooding accelerated the filling of the reservoir as the water rose 100 meters (330 ft) and reached the gates of the spillway at 10 a.m. on October 27.
Start of operations 
On 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 electric generation units started operations in September 2006 and in March 2007, thus raising the installed capacity to 14 GW 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 cannot 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 designed head (118 m), the power available exceeds 750 MW half of the time for each generator. Each turbine generates around 700 MW; by comparison, all the water from the Iguaçu Falls would have the capacity to feed only two generators.
November 2009 power failure 
On November 10, 2009, transmission from the plant was totally disrupted, possibly due to a storm damaging up to three high-voltage transmission lines. Itaipu itself was not damaged. This caused massive power outages in Brazil and Paraguay, blacking out the entire country of Paraguay for 15 minutes, and plunging Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo into darkness for more than 2 hours. 50 million people were reportedly affected. The blackout hit at 10:13 p.m. local time. It affected the southeast of Brazil most severely, leaving São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo completely without electricity. Blackouts also swept through the interior of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, the interior of Bahia and parts of Pernambuco, energy officials said. By 12:30 a.m. power had been restored to most areas.
Wonder of the Modern World 
Social and environmental impacts 
When construction of the dam began, approximately 10,000 families living beside the Paraná River were displaced.
The world's largest waterfall by volume, the Guaíra Falls were drowned by the newly formed Itaipu reservoir. The Brazilian government liquidated the Guaíra Falls National Park, and dynamited the submerged rock face where the falls had been, facilitating safer navigation, thus eliminating the possibility of restoring the falls in the future. A few months before the reservoir was filled, 80 people died when an overcrowded bridge overlooking the falls collapsed, as tourists sought a last glimpse of the falls.
- The course of the seventh biggest river in the world was shifted, as were 50 million tons of earth and rock.
- The amount of concrete used to build the Itaipu Power Plant would be enough to build 210 football stadiums the size of the Estádio do Maracanã.
- The iron and steel used 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 Tunnel and the volume of concrete is 15 times greater.
- Around forty thousand people worked in the construction.
- Itaipu is one of the most expensive objects ever built.
Generating station and dam 
- The total length of the dam is 7235 m. The crest elevation is 225 m. Itaipu is actually four dams joined together — from the far left, an earth fill dam, a rock fill dam, a concrete buttress main dam, and a concrete wing dam to the right.
- The spillway has a length of 483 m.
- The maximum flow of Itaipu's fourteen segmented spillways is 62.2 thousand cubic metres per second, into three skislope formed canals. It is equivalent to 40 times the average flow of the nearby natural Iguaçu Falls.
- The flow of two generators (700 m3·s−1 each) is roughly equivalent to the average flow of the Iguaçu Falls (1500 m3·s−1).
- If Brazil were to use Thermal Power Generation to produce the electric power of Itaipu, 434,000 barrels (69,000 m3) of petroleum would have to be burned every day.
- The dam is 196 metres high, equivalent to a 65-story building.
- Though it is the seventh largest reservoir in size in Brazil, the Itaipu's reservoir has the best relation between electricity 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 Dam, Tucuruí Dam, Porto Primavera Dam, Balbina Dam, Serra da Mesa Dam and Furnas Dam are all larger than the one for Itaipu, but have a smaller installed generating capacity. The one with the largest hydroelectric production, Tucuruí, has an installed capacity of 8,000 MW, while flooding 2,430 km2 (938 sq mi) of land.
- Electricity is 55% cheaper when made by the Itiapu Dam than the other types of power plants in the area.
See also 
- Eng Souza Dias (Jupiá) Dam
- Eng Sérgio Motta (Porto Primavera) Dam
- Ilha Solteira Dam
- List of largest hydroelectric power stations
- List of largest power stations in the world
- List of conventional hydroelectric power stations
- List of dam megaprojects
- List of power stations in Brazil
- Three Gorges Dam
- List of hydroelectric power station failures
- http://www.itaipu.gov.br/en/energy/energy Retrieved on 2011-04-22.
- Folha (2009), Itaipu bate recorde de produção de energia, mas perde participação no consumo, Folha Online, retrieved January 2, 2009
- Nickson, Andrew (20 February 2008). "Paraguay: Lugo versus the Colorado Machine". Open Democracy.
- "Why Brazil gave way on Itaipu dam". BBC. 26 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- Barrionuevo, Alexei (July 27, 2009). "Energy Deal With Brazil Gives Boost to Paraguay". New York Times. p. A10.
- Pereira, Fabiano (April 2007). "Clássicos: Grandes Brasileiros: Gurgel Itaipu" [Classics: Brazilian Greats: Gurgel Itaipu] (in Portuguese). Quatro Rodas.
- Abreu, Diego (2009-11-11). "Apagão teve origem em função de condições meteorológicas, diz MME". Globo News.
- "Major Power Failures Hit Brazil". BBC. 2009-11-11.
- Barrionuevo, Alexei (November 11, 2009). "Brazil Looks for Answers After Huge Blackout". New York Times.
- Pope, Gregory T. (December 1995), "The seven wonders of the modern world", Popular Mechanics: 48–56
- Indian Journals 61 (4). 2004.
- Switkes, Glenn (2008-03-14). "Farewell, Seven Falls". Retrieved 2010-03-02.
- "Itaipu binacional — Technical data — Comparisons". Retrieved February 16, 2007.
- "Energia de Itaipu poderia suprir o planeta por 43 horas" (in Portuguese). Economia - Bonde. O seu portal. 2012-01-02. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- "Itaipú supera récord mundial de producción de energía". Última Hora (in Spanish) (Asunción). 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Itaipu Dam|
- Itaipu Company Site (Portuguese) (English) (Spanish)
- Power conversion
- Power conditioning
- The Itaipu Transmission System
- Voith-Siemens Hydro Power Generation, one of the hydro turbines and generators manufacturer for this project
- Article on Brazil`s Thermoelectric Priority Program Author`s updated contact information