The second-largest hydropower plant in the world is set for a 14-year upgrade after the deal with GE

GE's upgrade of the world's second biggest hydropower plant

May 6, 2022: -GE Renewable Energy is signaling a deal that will see it carry out upgrades to the 14 gigawatt Itaipu hydropower plant, straddling the border between Brazil and Paraguay.

In a statement, GE Renewable Energy said it is Hydro and Grid Solutions businesses had signed a world-related contract, which is set to be present for 14 straight years. Paraguayan firms CIE and Tecnoedil will be supporting the project.

Among the different things, GE said the upgrades would include “equipment and systems of all 20 power generating units and the improvement of the hydropower plant’s measurement, protection, control, regulation, and monitoring systems.”

In 2018, GE said a consortium set up by GE Power and CIE Sociedad Anonima is now selected to “provide electrical equipment for the early stages” of the dam’s modernization project.

Itaipu commenced electricity production in 1984. Itaipu Binacional says the facility “provides 10.8% of the energy consumed in Brazil and 88.5% of the energy consumed in Paraguay.”

In its own capacity, it is the world’s second-biggest hydroelectric power plant after China’s 22.5 GW Three Gorges Dam.

According to the International Energy Agency, 2020 experienced hydropower generation to reach 4,418 terawatt-hours to maintain its position as “the significant renewable source of electricity, generating more than all other renewable technologies combined.”

The IEA states that almost 40% of the planet’s hydropower fleet is 40 years old. “When hydropower plants are 45-60 years old, major modernization refurbishments are required to improve their performance and increase flexibility,” it says.

Hydropower is concerned about the sector’s environmental footprint, although it has its backers.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration notes that while hydropower is generating may not “directly emit air pollutants,” different factors related to dams, reservoirs, and generators can affect them.

“The dam is recreating reservoir may obstruct fish migration,” it says, which adds that dams and reservoirs “can change all-natural water temperatures, water chemistry, river flow characteristics, and silt loads.”

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