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Itaipu, Paraguay – The World’s Largest Dam

The world’s largest hydroelectric power station at Itaipu. What do you say about these types of projects – over our lifetimes we’ve seen heaps of them – starting with the dam at Arapuni, then the big one at Arrrateatea  near Taupo (got a tour of that at primary school in 1965) and then stepped up to  Manapouri in 1995, then the Hoover dam on the Colorado river (in 2006) and now this – the largest dam in the world.

Here’s some comparatives just to get your juices flowing –

More dirt dug out than 8 Eurotunnels; 2 Sugarloaf mountains (Rio de Janiero) of dirt moved, more iron and steel to build it than 380 Eiffel Towers, more concrete used than 210 soccer stadiums of 70,000 seating capacity, and the spillway can shove more water down it than 40 Iguazu Falls (we’re coming to them, we took a walk around these this avo. Oh God still haven’t caught your attention – well this mother puts out 14,000 MW of energy – the Clyde, our greatest endeavour piddles out 432 MW. America’s Grand Coulee, its biggest, spurts 6,500 MW.

Don’t you love engineering stats? Our riding buddy Tony Armstrong does – he gets positively orgasmic over this stuff (and red wine). Frankly it leaves us nonplussed, but we’re citing all this rubbish for Tony’s edification – as he had too many commitments to make it up here, we feel we have to try and impress everybody with the sorts of things he gets off on. Let’s keep going;

40,000 people were employed in its construction; it took 10 years to build; the resources committed were equivalent to the build of a 22 storey building every 55 minutes; the bloody thing generates 14,000 MW of power (NZ has total capacity of 9,380 MW), Brazil uses 18 of the generators, Paraguay the remaining 2 – and it’s a 50/50 venture so generates a hell of a lot of revenue for Paraguay each year), and it cost US$ 25bn to build over that 1975-1991 period. Dam photos here

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