GE Renewable Energy ’s Hydro and Grid Solutions businesses have jointly signed a contract to upgrade the 14 GW Itaipu hydropower plant in Brazil and Paraguay. A consortium led by GE Hydro Solutions will be responsible for the upgrade of the plant, located on the Paraná River.
The project is scheduled to take 14 years and is primarily aimed at updating Itaipu’s technology. The upgrade includes equipment and systems of all 20 power generating units as well as the improvement of the plant’s measurement, protection, control, regulation, and monitoring systems. GE’s scope of supply also includes the supply of medium-voltage cubicles, energy management systems, automation technology, as well as the delivery of protection, control, and supervision systems for the generating units, GIS substation and the existing 500 kV transmission line, in addition to two new compact GIS substations to increase the reliability of the plant’s electrical auxiliary services.
David Krug, Itaipu’s Executive Technical Director, said that the investment is necessary because many assets are still analogue or technologically outdated and have been in operation for almost 40 years. In some cases, the manufacturer no longer exists, making it impossible to replace parts. He said: “If we upgrade the plant technologically, the problem of spare parts is eliminated. The big advantage is this – we are upgrading the plant to a new state-of-the-art facility and, in doing so, improving the efficiency of the operation and maintenance processes.”