Itaipu Dam Impact

On November 10, the Itaipu Dam failed, sending a large section of central and southern Brazil into darkness. It affected persons in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte as well as persons in Sao Paulo.

Edison Lobao, Brazil's minister of mines and energy, says that atmospheric conditions may have caused transmission lines to go down.

Itaipu Dam Location

The Itaipu dam is a dam located on the Parana River on the border between Paraguay and Brazil. It is the world's largest facility built to create electricity by the use of water power.

Itaipu Dam Construction
It took over 15 years to construct the Itaipu dam. Building began in 1975 and was completed in 1991. Construction reached its peak in 1978, at which point 30000 people were working on building the dam. The dam has a height equivalent to that of a 65 storey building and is almost 8 kilometers long. It is often used as an example when concrete work and dam safety are being discussed, because of its size.

Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant

The lake created by Itaipu contains 29 billion tons of water, which are used to generate zero-emission electricity. The existence of a dam that can generate the kind of power that Itaipu does proves that sources of renewable energy are able to support the needs of entire countries.

Renewable energy, which is also known as alternative energy, comes from different sources. Windpower and solar energy are two of the more popular forms of alternative energy being used in homes and businesses worldwide.

Hydroelectric Power Plants

The renewable energy generated by a dam is known as hydropower. Hydropower generates hydroelectricity through the use of the gravitational force of flowing water. 93,428 gigawatts of electricity were generated by this dam in the year 2000. That's a staggering amount of power but quite easily achievable, for a dam that has 20 generating units, which together can give 14,000 megawatts of electrical energy.

The dam was built by Paraguay and Brazil and the two nations have made ample returns, it seems, on their investment, with 20% of Brazil's electrical power and 94% of Paraguay's electrical power, coming from it.

Itaipu cost 20 billion U.S. dollars. A solar PV plant which could generate the same amount of power as Itaipu would cost 132 billion U.S. dollars. That's more than six times the cost of building Itaipu. Every year Itaipu avoids 67.5 million tones of Carbon Dioxide emissions. Itaipu is one of this century's 'Wonders of the World'.

The Itaipu Dam: World's Biggest Dam (Record-Breaking Structures)
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