Project, pictures and data of dam of ITAIPU

Inside the dam, electrical generating set, control station

Electrical Power
AC-DC conversion, 500 KV switches, HV-Power line.


























Stefan Krauter

"Peanuts"- a word often used from so called "economic experts" and representatives when it comes to Renewable Energies.

"Not sufficient", "unreliable", "not feasable", are common bias. ITAIPU shows they are wrong! Having more power than 10 nuclear power stations it supplies the second largest city on the planet with zero-emission electricity since 1984, still being extended until 1991. 26% of the electrical power consumption of Brazil and 78% of Paraguay are supplied by ITAIPU.

Located at the Brazilian-Paraguaian border and not far from the Argentinian border, the first step of the initiation was already in 1966 when the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Brazil and Paraguay signed a joint statement known as the "Act of Ygazu". By this a study and evaluation of the hydraulic resources of the Parana river (owned jointly by Brazil and Paraguay) followed.

On April, 26, 1973, the two gouvernments of the states signed a treaty "for the development of the hydroelectric resources of the Parana River" and founded "ITAIPU Binacional" (a cooperation with the legal, administrative and financial capacities and technical responsibility to plan, set up and operate the plant) in May, 17, 1974.

The construction work sarted in 1975, reaching its peak in 1978 with 30 000 people at work. Monthly on-site concrete production reached 338 000 m. In total, 15 times the mass of concrete used for the "Eurotunnel" was supplied. The height of the dam reaches 196 m, its length 7.76 km. The lake created by this is 170 km long and contains 29 billion tons of water. 

Unit 1 started to operate in December 1983. Electrical grid connection to Paraguay was established in March 1984, Brazil was connected 5 months later. In March 1991 the last unit (No.18) was put into operation.

The water intake of one single 715 MW Francis-turbine is 700 m/s, its weighted efficiency is 93.8%.

Each year ITAPU generates 75 TWh of electricity and avoids 67.5 million tons of carbondioxide emissions - compared to coal power plants.

The final cost of ITAIPU amounts to US$ 20 billion, 50% of this value are direct investments and balance financial charges.

If  whole area of the lake - at nominal level - would be covered by solar modules the power of the would be 135 000 MWp, which would produce 230 TWh a year. For the same yearly output as ITAIPU a solar PV-plant would cost US$ 132 billion.

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Total view of the ITAIPU power plant
Left part shows overflow (spillway), the power station is located in the middle.

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At the bottom of the 196 m tall dam
The white tubes are containing the inlets for the 18 tubines (715 MW each).
ITAIPU - biggest power plan on Earth - 12 600   hyd_on_damm.jpg (38566 bytes)
On top of the 7.6 km dam
A 12 800 000 m of concrete was used for the project ITAIPU.

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The lake created by ITAPU dam
Its area reaches 1 350 km2, its length 170 km and its average width 7 km.