Technological upgrade
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After 35 years of operation, Itaipu continues to beat world records for energy production. Its 14 GW capacity are of utmost importance for Brazil and Paraguay. Service availability ratios remain high, attesting to the higher-ranking quality of its equipment and components setup. The meticulous and preventive body of work from maintenance, operation and engineering teams supports these indexes, and they constitute one of the main cornerstones of the power station's performance.

Throughout nearly four decades, the power station has implemented umpteen top-end technologies, incorporating transient or layer digitalization, replacing systems, equipment and components, always seeking excellence and best practices.

However, the worldwide life-cycle standards for equipment and components - such as digital, electronic, electrical, cabling, and other station devices - require structured improvement of these subsystems. Besides obsolescence, the passing of technological cycles through time also impact on professional skills management.

Taking these factors into consideration, Itaipu is carrying out the Technological Upgrade of the Power Station and its Substations – which comprises the systemic replacement and evaluation of equipment and systems for supervision, control, protection, monitoring, measurement and their respective interfaces with the processes of power generation, its substations, its spillway, the auxiliary equipment of the dam and the powerhouse. As to heavy equipment such as turbines and generators, they have a longer life cycle and are not objects of upgrade.

The complexity of the project is mainly due to the fact that upgrading a large operational plant at the same time ensures adequate levels of power production, given that Itaipu dam accounts for 15% of Brazilian electricity consumption and 90% of Paraguay's. It's a rather different scenario than designing and building a new plant.

For this reason, Itaipu has designed a strategic plan for this upgrade, which considers the long duration, different execution fronts and several activities to be carried out and, more relevant, to be strengthen out.

Process Steps

Studies started back in 2006, with the definition of guidelines and criteria, analysis of equipment status and a basic version of the Technological Upgrade Plan.

In mid-2013, the development of the upgrade strategic planning began, in which activities to be performed throughout the project, such as carrying out studies, establishment of methodologies, project assumptions as well as previous definitions, were established and evolved over the course of planning.

Between 2016 and 2018, the Basis of the Technological Upgrade Project was executed,  consolidating study results, guidelines and technical specifications for the bidding process. Throughout this phase, two workshops were held with all stakeholders from both countries, where questions about project characteristics have been clarified and suggestions were taken into account and analyzed by Itaipu teams.  

In the second half of 2018, the first stage of the Technological Upgrade was carried out, namely a pre-qualification of project exection interested parties, thus classifying Brazilian and Paraguayan companies or consortia that must compete for the bidding process, with an opening scheduled for 2019.

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