GE will contribute to the modernization of one of the world's largest hydropower plants -- the Itaipu Dam located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay -- through the provision of electrical equipment for the early stages of the plant's facelift, the company said Thursday.
Operator Itaipu Binacional signed a three-year contract with the GE consortium, established by GE Power and Paraguay-based CIE Sociedad Anonima, according to a statement published on GE's website. The contract is part of a 10-year modernization program to replace obsolete equipment installed 30 years ago by more advanced technologies and machinery.
Reaching nearly 200 meters high and 8 kilometers long, the Itaipu Dam - equally owned by Paraguay and Brazil - has a total power generation capacity of 14 gigawatts, enough to meet 75 percent of Paraguay's electricity needs and about 15 percent of Brazil's at the same time, according to the press release.
The consortium will focus on the electrical modernization of the 24 overhead cranes, essential to lift the heavy equipment—such as hydro turbines—for the modernization.
"The lifting equipment, dating from 1984, has a lifting capacity from 10 up to 1,000 tons. For this mission, GE will provide AC motors, low-voltage drives and programmable logical controllers and encoders, which will help extend the cranes’ lifetime for another 20 years. This upgrade will be the first step of the global modernization project," GE said.
According to the press release, having produced more than 2.5 billion megawatt-hours (MWh) of power since 1984, the Itaipu Dam is the largest hydro plant in the world in cumulated power and the second in terms of installed power.
"Regarded as a great source of national pride, the Itaipu hydroelectric plant has produced more electricity than any other hydro infrastructure in the world. In 2016, it also set a new world record for annual energy generation with the production of 103.1 million MWh," said Mauro Jose Corbellini, executive technical director at Itaipu Binacional.
"The modernization of this monumental site will breathe new life into the decades-old infrastructure, and the partnership with GE is the first crucial step to start the journey," he added.
Gagan Sood, CEO of Industry, Power and Wind segment at GE's Power Conversion business, said they were excited to be part of this vast modernization project, helping Itaipu Dam improve its supply of energy and maintain its key role in clean energy generation for both Paraguay and Brazil.
"Our electrical equipment will help the 24 overhead cranes and gantries to operate effectively and safely, enabling them to bring together key plant equipment with precision and efficiency," he added.
By Hale Turkes