GE Power and CIE Sociedad Anonima in consortium have bagged a contract from Itaipu Binacional to supply electrical equipment for the early stages of the modernization project of the 14GW Itaipu hydropower plant in Brazil.

Itaipu hydropower plant

Image: Itaipu hydropower plant. Photo: courtesy of Itaipu Binacional.

Operated by Itaipu Binacional, the Itaipu hydropower plant is built on the Paraná River, and is located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay.

The hydropower project generates enough power to meet 75% of total Paraguay electricity requirements and around 15% of Brazil at the same time. It is a binational undertaking run by Brazil and Paraguay, which has been built 15km north of the Friendship Bridge.

Operating since May 1984, the Itaipu hydropower plant will undergo a 10-year modernization program, under which obsolete equipment installed three decades ago will be replaced with more advanced technologies and machinery.

The Itaipu hydropower plant comprises 20 power generating units, each with a capacity of 700MW. Construction of the Itaipu dam began in February 1971 with an investment $19.6bn.

Itaipu Binacional said: “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.

“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.”

Under its three-year contract, the GE consortium will work on electrical modernization of 24 overhead cranes that are required to lift the heavy equipment like hydro turbines. The original lifting equipment, which has a lifting capacity from 10 up to 1,000 tons, will be upgraded to mark the first step of the modernization project.

GE power conversion business industry, power and wind segment CEO Gagan Sood said: “We are excited to be part of this vast modernization project, helping Itaipu Dam to 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.”