Start Itaipu plant will undergo a modernization process 37 years after the start of its operation; the project will receive an investment of over 3 billion reais

Itaipu plant will undergo a modernization process 37 years after the start of its operation; the project will receive an investment of over 3 billion reais

April 30, 2022 11:14 pm to 23:14
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power plant, Itaipu Power Plant, modernization
File image of the plant, with the spillway open. Photo: Alexandre Marchetti / Reproduction by Itaipu Binacional.




The modernization of the Itaipu Power Plant is expected to take place over 14 years, to be carried out by companies from Brazil and Paraguay

On Friday, April 29, during a ceremony in the hall of the Production Building of the Itaipu Power Plant (UHI), Itaipu Binacional approved the start of work for the largest technological modernization project at the production units since May 1984, date in which the plant started commercial operation, more than 30 years ago. The upgrade plan is expected to take place over 14 years of service, with US$ 649 million in investments. The modernization works will be carried out by the Consortium Modernization of Itaipu (CMI) – formed by Brazilian and Paraguayan companies –, winner of the binational tender. 

Why is it necessary to carry out the modernization of the Itaipu plant?

According to the PetroNotícias website, since the beginning of operational activities, the Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant has already generated more than 2.8 billion Megawatt-hours (MWh), and even after more than 30 years of uninterrupted production, the Itaipu Power Plant continues to work with indicators above the average. However, according to the plant itself, it is increasingly difficult to maintain this high performance.

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This is because electrical and electronic equipment and appliances, which were designed for 30 years, have been operating for almost 40 years. Thus, many of them are already technology outdated and unreservedly more modern on the market. Thus, the Itaipu Power Plant runs an increasing risk of eventual failures, so that they can negatively affect the production of Hydro-electric energy and unit security. 

Year-old project that finally gets off the ground

In this sense, the Itaipu Power Plant has been working for years in the elaboration of a technological update project, in order to reduce any risk. The binational public notice was launched at the end of 2019, after a long and meticulous work that involved professionals from all the company's boards.

“It has been a long journey to get to this point,” said Foreign Minister Carlos Alberto França. “Itaipu today takes a new step on the technological front line to remain a world reference in terms of performance, productivity and, above all, as a crucial element for promoting sustainable development and friendship between Brazil and Paraguay,” he added.

The technological update at the Itaipu Power Plant involves the study and replacement of equipment and systems for supervision, control, monitoring, measurement, protection and their respective interfaces with the generation processes, substations, spillways, auxiliary equipment of the dam and the force. However, heavy equipment such as generators and turbines will not be replaced as they have a longer life cycle. 

See the commercial values that the modernization received

The Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant received commercial proposals that were presented in dollars, corresponding to approximately US$ 649 million, which, in reais, is equivalent to R$ 3.7 billion. Furthermore, taking into account all investment expected, which have other essential contracts, actions of structures carried out by Itaipu itself and expenses destined to management, exceed 900 million dollars. The contract was closed with values in reais and guaranis, subject to the exchange rate just before the submission of proposals.

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