Milestone-Proposal:ITAIPU Hydroelectric Power Plant- Coming 50 years of providing clean energy

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Docket #:2017-09

This proposal has been submitted for review.

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:

Signing of the Binational treaty between Paraguay and Brazil  : 1973Start of construction: 1975Electric Generation Start: 1984World Record of Electric Power Generation: 2016 50 years of the signing of the Treaty of ITAIPU: 2023

Title of the proposed milestone:

Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant, 1971-1984

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

Itaipu power plant construction began in 1971 as a joint Brazil-Paraguay venture. When power generation started in 1984, Itaipu set a record for the single largest installed hydroelectric capacity (14 GW). For at least three decades, Itaipu annually produced more electricity than any other world hydroelectric project. Linking power plants, substations, and transmission lines in both Brazil and Paraguay, Itaipu’s system provided reliable, affordable energy to consumers and industry.

200-250 word abstract describing the significance of the technical achievement being proposed, the person(s) involved, historical context, humanitarian and social impact, as well as any possible controversies the advocate might need to review.

IEEE technical societies and technical councils within whose fields of interest the Milestone proposal resides.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?


IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Senior Officer Name: Juan José Encina

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Senior Officer Name: Juan José Encina

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section Chair name: Juan José Encina

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Juan José Encina
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates in decimal form of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

-25.406572436063033, -54.589509446781

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. The site for the plaque is in the ITAIPU hydroelectric power plant building. It is owned by the Binational Entity between Paraguay and Brazil and is a place reserved for documenting the history of itaipu.

Are the original buildings extant?

They are the original buildings to the present

Details of the plaque mounting:

Inside an exhibition room for ITAIPU visitors inside the Hydroelectric Power Plant

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

The site for the plaque is a place with security personnel from the Hydroelectric Power Plant and as part of the scheduled visits tour, it is easy to access them, as long as the visits are scheduled for students, professionals or the general public. Data for visits IHernandarias, Alto Paraná phone: +595 61 599 8040 / 8094 email:

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

The Governments of Paraguay and Brazil on equal terms through the Treaty that creates the Binational Entity ITAIPU

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? If personal names are included in citation, include justification here. (see section 6 of Milestone Guidelines)

ITAIPU was for a long time the hydroelectric plant with the largest installed capacity in the world with its 14,000 MW, today only surpassed by the Chinese hydroelectric plant of Three Gorges, in addition, ITAIPU held the world record for annual energy generation until 2019 with 103,000 GWh annually and only in 2020 was it surpassed by the same Chinese plant. From May 5, 1984 to December 31, 2020, ITAIPU has generated electricity for 2,764,589 GWh, where 91.79% has withdrawn Brazil and 8.21% Paraguay and has generated benefits for both countries for the total amount of 18,891 million dollars from 1985 to 2020 Since 1984, Paraguay has used ITAIPU's energy to meet its internal consumption, reaching 21% of the energy produced in the year in 2020. ITAIPU is responsible for covering more than 90% of Paraguay's energy requirements and is also the one that allows it to maintain a low rate for final consumers. In addition to providing most of the energy used in the country, Paraguay receives economic benefits from ITAIPU in accordance with the provisions of the treaty in an annual amount and that in 2020 totaled the amount of 487 million dollars, being the total income for Paraguay from 1985 to 2020 of 11,576 million dollars

ITAIPU represents 15% of the energy used in Brazil and mainly serves the southeastern and central-western systems of the Brazilian electrical system, where the main industries are located. Brazil also receives direct economic benefits from ITAIPU, which in 2020 totaled the amount of 267 million dollars, with the total income for Brazil from 1985 to 2020 being 7,316 million dollars. The technological and scientific importance lies in the fact that the ITAIPU work was built almost 50 years ago with engineering professionals from Brazil and Paraguay and remains up to date, thanks to the effort, continuous training and technological updating of the dam. Itaipu has also focused on social and humanitarian aid due to the effects of the flooded populations and today there is in both countries what is called Social Expenses destined to help reduce poverty, health, education and technological research. 50 years after the signing of the ITAIPU treaty and the start of the project and 38 years after the start of operations of the plant, the 20 turbines, in addition to generating clean and renewable energy that collaborates with the mitigation of climate change, are in the process of being updated. technology and its human resources, so that its operation is sustainable over time. Scholarship plans for students and aid to society; in the areas of health, education and scientific research are relevant for both countries

ITAIPU Binacional promotes social responsibility actions, with the purpose of contributing to sustainable development in Paraguay and Brazil, our social responsibility works for an inclusive economic and social development, where human habitats and natural resources are resilient and sustainable. ITAIPU since its inception has been committed to the adoption of policies and practices that contribute and promote a better quality of life for the communities with which it is related, this management model fulfills its social responsibility in terms of job creation, respect of employee rights and transparent management of royalties. In short, it seeks that the generation of energy translates into the promotion of sustainable regional development that contributes to a responsible, fair and supportive society. The Social Responsibility Advisory is the body responsible for the social responsibility of the Entity, it accompanies the execution of projects and suggests the implementation of social responsibility initiatives, coordinates the process of preparing Sustainability Reports, and articulates actions with other institutions for the promotion of social responsibility projects, which include the social, economic and environmental dimensions.

Itaipu's grandiose numbers provoke impressive comparisons.

• The 60 million cubic meters of earth and rock excavated at Itaipu would fill a row of dump trucks 128,000 kilometers long, that is, three times the circumference of the planet Earth. • The total volume of concrete used in Itaipu is fifteen times greater than the concrete used in the Channel Tunnel. • The iron and steel used would allow the construction of 380 Eiffel Towers. • The maximum flow of the Itaipu spillway (62,200 m3 per second) corresponds to more than 40 times the average flow of the Iguazú Falls. • The nominal flow of two Itaipu turbines (700 m3 of water per second each) corresponds to the average flow of the Falls (1,500 m3 per second). • The height of the main dam (196 meters) is equivalent to the height of a 65-story building. • It would be necessary to burn 536,000 barrels of oil per day to obtain the same energy production from Itaipu in thermoelectric plants. • The electricity produced by a single Itaipu generating unit would be enough to cover the demand of a city four times the size of Asunción. • 40 thousand workers participated in the construction of the dam at its peak. • The flow of two dam turbines (700 m³ of water per second each) is equivalent to the average flow of water from the Iguazú Falls. • The height of the dam (196 meters) corresponds to the height of a 65-story building. • The maximum flow of the Itaipu Binacional spillway (62.2 thousand m³ per second) is 40 times higher than the average flow of water from the Iguazú Falls (1,500 m³ per second). • 20 million seedlings of native trees were planted to protect the reservoir. It was the biggest revival of the genre made in the world. • 1,350 km² is the size of the lake formed by the Itaipu reservoir, an area greater than the entire urban area of the city of São Paulo. • The volume of concrete used in the construction of the hydroelectric plant (12.7 million m³) would be enough for the construction of 210 soccer stadiums the size of the famous Maracana in Brazil. • In a single day, November 14, 1978, Itaipu broke the South American record for the use of concrete, when they used 7,207 m³ of concrete for the work in the dam, equivalent to a ten-story building every hour, or 24 buildings in The same day

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

The ITAIPU project was a peaceful solution to a territorial conflict between Paraguay and Brazil. All ingenuity had to be used to advance the work despite the obstacles presented by the environment at that time and the limitations for access and with the available technology. The main obstacles were the diversion of the main channel of the river for the construction of the power house and the controlled detonations for the generation of the main reservoir.

All this was overcome by the coordinated work of two twinned countries in the end in a project that benefits both countries, although its origin was a solution to a territorial conflict

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

That it was a work of engineering that was the solution to a territorial conflict. For a long time it was the largest hydroelectric plant in the world built in the 70's and is still in force to date In addition, the renewable energy generated has served for the development of 2 countries and protecting the environment and seeking to help society.

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation. The Itaipu Dam (Portuguese: Barragem de Itaipu [itɐjˈpu], Spanish: Represa de Itaipú [itajˈpu]) is a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. The construction of the dam was first contested by Argentina, but the negotiations and resolution of the dispute ended up setting the basis for Argentine–Brazilian integration later on.[2]

The name "Itaipu" was taken from an isle that existed near the construction site. In the Guarani language, Itaipu means "the sounding stone".[3] The Itaipu Dam's hydroelectric power plant produced the second most electricity of any in the world as of 2020, only surpassed by the Three Gorges Dam plant in electricity production.

Completed in 1984, it is a binational undertaking run by Brazil and Paraguay at the border between the two countries, 15 km (9.3 mi) north of the Friendship Bridge. The project ranges from Foz do Iguaçu, in Brazil, and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, in the south to Guaíra and Salto del Guairá in the north. The installed generation capacity of the plant is 14 GW, with 20 generating units providing 700 MW each with a hydraulic design head of 118 metres (387 ft). In 2016, the plant employed 3038 workers.[4]

Of the twenty generator units currently installed, ten generate at 50 Hz for Paraguay and ten generate at 60 Hz for Brazil. Since the output capacity of the Paraguayan generators far exceeds the load in Paraguay, most of their production is exported directly to the Brazilian side, from where two 600 kV HVDC lines, each approximately 800 kilometres (500 mi) long, carry the majority of the energy to the São Paulo/Rio de Janeiro region where the terminal equipment converts the power to 60 Hz. Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam is the world’s second-largest operational hydroelectric power plant in terms of installed power. Itaipú Dam, hollow gravity dam on the Alto (Upper) Paraná River at the Brazil-Paraguay border. It is located north of the town of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. The Itaipú Hydro-Electric Project: The Paraguayan Perspective R. Andrew Nickson Bulletin of Latin American Research Vol. 2, No. 1 (Oct., 1982), pp. 1-20 (20 pages) Published By: Wiley Itaipu hydro plant sets productivity record for third consecutive year The Itaipu Dam Tommy Mina December 9, 2011 Submitted as coursework for PH240, Stanford University, Fall 2011 The Itaipu dam is known as one of the seven wonders of the modern world due to its sheer immensity. It spans the Parana River separating Paraguay and Brazil; each country owns half of the 14,000-megawatt output that the dam produces. [1] To complete this project, approximately 50 million tons of earth were removed during construction, and 18 hydroelectric generators each spanning 53 feet were placed into the dam (2 more were added in an expansion in 2006 to bring the total to 20). As a result of their massive size, each generator is capable of handling 160 tons of water per second. [1] Also, given the agreement of an equal split of the output energy between the two countries, Paraguay has been able to sell the excess electricity that they possess to Brazil and to other countries around the world. The idea for the Itaipu dam began to take shape when the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Brazil and Paraguay signed the Act of Iguacu in 1966. This Act resulted in the exploration of the Parana River as a potential energy source. [2] In 1975, construction began on the dam; the 4.8 mile-long structure was completed in 1991, with an expansion completed in 2003 that resulted in an additional 1,400 megawatts of energy produced. [2] It is a concrete gravity dam that has used enough iron and steel in its construction to build 380 Eiffel Towers and 15 Channel Tunnels between England and France. [1] The reservoir feeding into the dam is 170 km in length and can hold approximately 29.54 billion tons of water. [2] Given its magnitude, it is able to supply a huge amount of power and bring positive international attention to these two countries. However, there were some large consequences, both positive and negative of building this dam. While its completion provided a large new energy source for both countries, many families were displaced from their homes to accommodate the new man-made structure shifting the course of the seventh biggest river in the world, and an entire waterfall was lost in the process. Own articles published in journalistic media and national and international congresses
















Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).

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