Business World of Renewable Energy

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GE Renewable Energy Wins Major Contract To Upgrade The World's Second Largest Hydropower Plant

São Paulo, Brazil - The Itaipu hydropower plant, located in the border region of Brazil and Paraguay, will receive a comprehensive technical upgrade after about 40 years of operation. A consortium led by the hydropower division of GE Renewable Energy has now been awarded the contract for the major project.

GE Renewable Energy has been awarded the contract to carry out a comprehensive technical modernization of the Itaipu hydropower plant on the border between Paraguay and Brazil through its Hydro and Grid Solutions businesses. Work on the nearly 40-year-old plant is expected to take 14 years. The modernization will include equipment and systems for all 20 generating units, as well as improvements to the hydropower plant's measurement, protection, control, regulation, and monitoring systems

In addition to the modernization of the 20 power plant units, GE's scope of supply includes the supply of medium-voltage cubicles, energy management systems, automation technology as well as the delivery of protection, control and supervision systems for the generating units, GIS substation and the existing 500 kV transmission lines, in addition to two new compact GIS substations to increase the reliability of the plant’s electrical auxiliary services. GE is supported by Paraguayan partner companies CIE and Tecnoedil, which are responsible for the installation and supply of general materials, respectively.

"It is an honor and an obligation for us to participate in this largest technological upgrade project of Itaipu since its commissioning. Because of its relevance in providing clean energy to the people of Paraguay and Brazil, Itaipu is key to avoiding future energy crises and ensuring affordable energy for generations to come," said Pascal Radue, CEO and president of GE Renewable Energy Hydro Solutions.

Modernization prevents spare parts problem - plant is brought up to the latest technical standards

The upgrade of the power plant is the result of extensive planning that began in the early 2000s and went through several phases. According to the company, the investment became necessary because many assets are still analog or technologically outdated and have been in operation for almost 40 years. In some cases, the manufacturer no longer exists, making it impossible to replace parts. "If we upgrade the plant technologically, the problem of spare parts is eliminated. The big advantage is this - we are upgrading the plant to a new state of the art facility and, in doing so, improving the efficiency of the operation and maintenance processes", says Itaipu technical director David Krug.

The Itaipu Binacional hydropower plant on the Paraná River was commissioned in 1984. In total, Itaipu Binacional supplies an average of 8.4 percent of Brazil's and 85.6 percent of Paraguay's electricity consumption. Each of the 20 power plant units has the capacity to supply a city of 1.8 million inhabitants. The dam reaches a height of almost 200 meters and is eight kilometers long. After the Three Gorges power plant in China, Itaipu is currently still the second largest hydropower plant in the world with an installed capacity of 14,000 megawatts (MW) (14 GW). After the commissioning of the Chinese Baihetan hydropower plant on the Yangtze River with a total capacity of 16,000 MW, Itaipu will then rank third among the world's largest hydropower plants.

Source: IWR Online, 04 May 2022