Itaipu becomes first hydropower plant to break 100 TWh mark

Itaipu / China Three Gorges Hydropower Plant Comparison

After breaking its own annual generation record earlier in December, Brazil's 14-GW Itaipu hydroelectric plant rewrote history again by breaking the 100 TWh mark.

Itaipu's 103.09 TWh of production eclipses the 98.8 TWh milestone set by China's 22.5-GW Three Gorges project in 2014.

Plant operator Itaipu Binacional said the facility's banner year was made possible by turbines that ran at a 96% operational efficiency level. Meanwhile, 97% of all water that passed through the plant was used for generation.

"Having the largest structure isn't enough to be the best in the world," general director Jorge Samek said. "We have achieved this with a lot of work and commitment, taking into account the interests of Brazil and Paraguay, and of course, with the help of the good water conditions of the Parana River."

Itaipu's increased production has led to gains in both the Brazilian and Paraguayan markets. The hydropower plant accounted for about 18% of Brazil's domestic consumption in 2016 -- up 4% from the year prior -- and 82% of Paraguay's consumption, up 6%.

"The ability of the plant's technicians and the good management of resources once again proves that we really have a vocation for breaking records," Samek said. "It will be very hard to surpass Itaipu."

Three Gorges and Itaipu have traded the record for annual production several times in recent years, with Three Gorges establishing a record high 98.1 TWh in 2012. Itaipu then broke Three Gorges' record with 98.63 TWh of production in 2013.

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