ASUNCION – The Itaipu Dam, jointly operated by Paraguay and Brazil, has become the first hydroelectric plant to generate 100 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity in a single year, executives said.
The Paraguayan chief executive of Itaipu Binacional, James Spalding, said in a ceremony at the power plant that the milestone achieved Tuesday was unthinkable at the start of 2016 but was the fruit of abundant rainfall and a maintenance and operation plan that ensured the optimal condition of its generating units.
“For the first time in Itaipu’s 32 years, for the first time in the history of humanity, a hydroelectric dam has reached nine digits” of output, Spalding said.
The result was not achieved at the cost of postponing maintenance on the turbines, according to Spalding, who said some programs originally scheduled for 2017 had even been moved up to this year.
He added that the dam’s reservoir water level had not been depleted to achieve the mark and was above the average level for the month of December.
The 100-million-MWh milestone is the latest mark achieved by the Itaipu Dam this month.
Last week, the hydro station broke its previous annual output mark (set in 2013) of 98.6 million MWh and then shattered the one-year global record of 98.8 million MWh set by China’s Three Gorges Dam in 2014.
Itaipu’s nine-digit output this year is sufficient to supply all of Brazil’s electricity’s needs for two and a half months and meet Paraguayan demand for nearly seven years.