ASUNCION – Power output in 2016 by the Itaipu Dam, shared by Paraguay and Brazil, topped 96.6 million megawatt-hours on Friday, a new annual high and close to the all-time record of 98.8 million megawatt-hours set by China’s Three Gorges Dam in 2014.
Itaipu executives and technicians watched the countdown to the new mark – which was set at 10:00 am and eclipsed the previous record set in 2013 – on big screens set up in the production building station’s conference hall.
Sometime after midnight Friday, the plant is expected to surpass the all-time record set by Three Gorges and reclaim the title of world’s biggest hydroelectric generator.
By Wednesday of next week, projections are that total 2016 output will exceed 100 million megawatt-hours, which will be an unprecedented annual mark for a hydroelectric dam, Itaipu said in a statement.
To put the plant’s production into perspective, the dam said 98.6 million megawatt-hours were sufficient to meet all of Brazil’s electricity needs for two months and 15 days and supply Paraguay for nearly seven years.
Itaipu Binacional was founded in May 1974 to administer the construction of the dam, which began operating 10 years later.
Since then, the hydroelectric power station has positioned itself as a world leader in the production of clean and renewable energy, according to company officials.
The dam has 20 generating units and possesses 14,000 megawatts of installed power capacity, enabling it to meet 17 percent of Brazil’s electricity requirements and 75 percent of Paraguayan demand.