Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The plant consists of 18 generator units of 700 MW (megawatts) each, allowing for a total ouput of 12,600 MW of power, The first generators started running in May 1984 and the final generator started running on April 9, 1991. Although it is not the largest dam in the world, it has the largest generating capacity and produces the most electricity. Its generating capacity (but not its annual production of electricity) will be surpassed by China's Three Gorges Dam. Two more generator units are currently being built. When finished in the first half of 2005, Itaipu will be capable of a total output of 14,000 MW of power. The name "Itaipu" is derived from the Tupi Guarani language and means "singing stones".
Division between Brazil and Paraguay
As with the division of financing, half of the generators are owned by Brazil and the other half by Paraguay. However, Paraguay sells the majority of its power to Brazil (and therefore has not had difficulty in paying for the project). Even in this configuration, the plant supplies 25% of the power consumed by Brazil and 90% of that consumed by Paraguay. Furthermore, this electricity for Paraguay is sold very cheaply and so although it is poor, its citizens can afford abundant lighting. On the other hand, Itaipu was built during the corrupt Stroessner dictatorship and so a small number of families owning large construction businesses benefitted significantly at the expense of the general population.
The power generted by the generators on the site of Paraguay is done by a frequency of 50 Hertz, because 50 Hertz is the grid frequency of Paraguay. The generators on the Brasilian site run with the grid frequency of Brazil, which is 60 Hertz. Because Paraguay cannot consume all the energy produced by its generators, a part of it is transfered via the HVDC Itaipu to the area of São Paulo. The power generated by the Brazilian generators is transfered by 765 kV three phase AC lines to São Paulo.
- http://www.itaipu.gov.br/ (in Portuguese, English, and Spanish)
- http://www.solar.coppe.ufrj.br/itaipu (Introduction)
- http://www.solar.coppe.ufrj.br/itaipu_conv.html (Power conversion)
- http://www.solar.coppe.ufrj.br/itaipu_ee.html (Power conditioning)
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