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Itaipu records fourth higher annual production in 2018
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It was a close call, but in 2018 Itaipu plan guaranteed the fourth best annual production in its history. Last year, 96,585,596 MWh were generated, a 0.21% increase over the 2017 production, which was 96,387,357 MWh. With new brand, Itaipu's five largest annual power generation have occurred in recent years (in ascending order: 2017, 2018, 2012, 2013, 2016), which proves an increase in efficiency of company's technical area.

Itaipu dam. Photo: Alexandre Marchetti/Itaipu Binacional.

According to the company's chief technical officer, Mauro Corbellini, the high energy output in 2018, and also in recent years, can be explained by the plant's operational efficiency. "It was a notably challenging year because the plan oscillated between periods of high production with periods of below-average affluence and demand limitation. Even so, we closed with the fourth largest production", he states.

In 2018, the Operational Capacity Factor (FCO), an index that measures how much the use of the water was successful, logged 99.3%; the second best in its history. In the last five years, the average is 98.6%. "For the year of 2019, our team will continue to work hard, committed to this field that is so strategic to Brazilian and Paraguayan companies," says Corbellini.

For the Brazilian director general, Marcos Stamm, this and other Itaipu brands show the company's commitment that, even in a year of hydrological difficulty, exceeded to guarantee the regional development of Brazil and Paraguay. "It’s a constant work that requires  commitment of both Brazilians and Paraguayans in operational and strategic plan management".

Power generated by the plan in 2018 could supply the entire planet for a day and 13 hours, Brazil for 2 months and 14 days, the State of São Paulo for eight months and 28 days or a city of the size of Curitiba for 21 years, five months and ten days.

Power race

To reach the fourth best mark in its history, power production in 2018 was more like a race throughout the year. In the first five months, for example, production was the highest of all times for that period, surpassing by 7% the amount generated in the same five initial months of 2017.
Seven out of ten largest daily productions in history, were in March 2018, which reached 9.9 million MWh, the best month of the year.

After this excellent start, the power generation decreased from May to September, due to the scarcity of water. Worst month was June, with production below 6.4 million MWh. As of October, the generation rose again. In addition to hitting the record for the Best November, with 9.3 million MWh generated in that month, Itaipu reached, on November 28, 2.6 billion MWh mark generated since the beginning of production in May 1984. Production which will hardly be surpassed by any other power generator.

The overtakings started in December, already within the top ten brands. On the 8th, for example, production surpassed that of 2007. Then, on average every two days, other brands were being passed until December 23rd, the 2018 generation entered the "top five," disbanding 2008 mark and making all five best productions being those of recent years. At 02:08 on the 31st, 2018 production surpassed that of 2017, finally reaching fourth best historical mark.

Team work

Acting superintendent of operation Fernando Menezes, explains that 2018 was an atypical year regarding to rainfall. "We had very good initial months, but between April and September it was quite dry. The recommence of rainfall only occurred later. "This has had an impact on our affluence and therefore on production," he adds. In historical average, since 1990, the year 2018 was only the 17th in affluence. Because of that, in order to maintain high production, it was important to work together on the entire technical area of Itaipu, the so-called "dance with the water", which means, to ensure that equipment and systems associated with energy production are available meeting the hydrological sign.

The Annual Machine Shutdown Program has become more flexible in recent years due to process improvements and periodicity adjustments and downtime maintenance machines. "With the new improvements, by 2019 we will have a 40% cumulative reduction in the annual time needed to maintain generating units since 2013. This provides a better use of human resources to meet new demands and new systems", says acting superintendent of Maintenance, Marco Aurélio Siqueira Mauro. This percentage represents a gain of 117 days when units are available to generate power.