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"World's Largest Power Station" Top 5 Page for this destination Puerto Iguazú Things to Do Tip by Bwana_Brown

Puerto Iguazú Things to Do: 80 reviews and 221 photos

  Itaipu Dam Spillway
by Bwana_Brown

Located about 18-km (12-miles) from Puerto Iguazu on the Parana River, between Brazil and Paraguay, the Itaipu Dam is the world's largest electric power generating station. When you place a 5-mile wide and 640 foot high dam across the second largest river in South America (after the Amazon) you are bound to tap into a lot of energy! It is equivalent in water flow to damming the Mississippi River in the United States.

The dam was built, and it's generators added, over a number of years stretching from 1974-91, with the last two of it's twenty units only recently being added. Although half of the generators feed into Paraguay, most of the dam's output (95%) finds it's way to Brazil and it's insatiable economy. Altogether, the twenty units rated at 700 MW each produce 14,000 MW of electricity, enough power to feed half of the maximum demand of New York State. By comparison, the 17 generators at the world-famous Hoover Dam in the United States produce only 2,074 MW of power!!

In most cases, a tour of Itaipu is thrown in as part of the half-day tour of the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls. It starts off with a propaganda film straight out of the 1950s extolling the virtues of the dam and then moves on to re-boarding the busses for a couple of viewing stops of the dam. Although a brief and distant tour, it was interesting for me to have seen the site, given that I work with electric power generation and transmission!

This photo shows some of the excess water not needed for generation being released down one of the three 'spillways' off to the side of the area that actually generates the power. It produces a water plume almost as good as Iguazu Falls itself! For more details on the dam and the nearby Brazilian city, see my 'Foz do Iguacu' page.

Address: North of Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
Directions: On the Parana River between Brazil and Paraguay, very close to Foz do Iguacu

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 24, 2005
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