GE signs contract to upgrade large hydroelectric facility in South America

Along the border between Brazil and Paraguay, Itaipu began producing electricity in 1984. Technological improvements being planned for the site are scheduled to take 14 years.

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GE Renewable Energy has signed a deal that will see it conduct upgrades to the 14-GW Itaipu Hydropower Plant, a massive facility located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay.

In a statement earlier this week, GE Renewable Energy said its hydropower and grid solutions business has signed a contract related to the business, which is set to run for 14 years. Paraguay’s CIE and Tecnoedil will support the project.

Among other things, GE said the improvements will include “equipment and systems for all 20 power generation units as well as improved measurement, protection, control, regulation and monitoring systems for the hydropower plant.”

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

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Itaipu began producing electricity in 1984. The Itaipu Binacional website says the facility “provides 10.8% of the energy consumed in Brazil and 88.5% of the energy consumed in Paraguay.”

In terms of capacity, it is the second largest hydropower plant in the world after the 22.5 GW Three Gorges Dam in China.

According to the International Energy Agency, 2020 saw hydroelectric generation reach 4,418 TWh to maintain its position as “the largest renewable source of electricity, generating more than all other renewable technologies combined”.

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The International Energy Agency states that approximately 40% of the planet’s hydroelectric fleet is at least 40 years old. “When hydroelectric power plants are 45-60 years old, major retrofits are required to improve their performance and increase their resilience,” she says. At 38, Itaipu appears to be on the cusp of that threshold.

Hydropower supports, but there are also concerns about the sector’s ecological footprint.

The US Energy Information Administration notes that while hydroelectric generators may not “directly emit air pollutants,” other factors related to dams, reservoirs, and generators can have an effect.

“A dam creating a reservoir (or a dam that diverts water to a downstream hydroelectric plant) may impede fish migration,” she says, adding that dams and reservoirs “can also alter natural water temperatures, water chemistry, and river characteristics, flow characteristics and silt loads. “.

In addition, reservoirs of EIA countries can end up covering areas including archaeological sites and land used for agriculture. “Building a reservoir and operating the dam may lead to the resettlement of people,” she says.

towards the end of April, GE It reported that the renewable energy sector suffered a loss of $434 million for the first quarter of 2022, compared to a loss of $234 million in the first quarter of 2021. Renewable energy revenue was $2.87 billion, down from $3.24 billion in the first quarter of 2021. .

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