Your cell phone charger, microwave and television are just a few of the electrical devices that you use every single day and that most likely do not even notice the whole process involved to make them work.
And all this paraphernalia of wires, cables and systems only survive daily thanks to the work of the hydroelectric plants.
Hydroelectric power plants are the engine of all modern life, without them electricity would not reach your home, your work, or anywhere.
But would you know which is the biggest hydroelectric plant in the world? And from Brazil? We will tell you in this post, in addition to some super interesting things. Check out.
How a hydroelectric plant works
For energy to reach the homes of people all over the world every day, a fundamental element is needed: water, lots of water.
Hydroelectric plants work thanks to the pressure and the movement of water over the generators. As a result, these gears turn the turbines, which in turn transform mechanical energy into electrical energy.
For the construction of hydroelectric dams, the damming of rivers and the construction of dams is necessary for water to accumulate.
The greater the flow of water in the river, the greater the amount of energy that can be produced by hydroelectric plants.
And here is a good tip on the world’s largest hydroelectric plants, after all, where beyond our Brazil, where so many rivers and natural freshwater reserves are concentrated?
10 largest hydroelectric plants in the world
Check below the ranking with the largest hydroelectric plants in the world.
10th – Sayano-Shushenskaya – Russia
Russia opens the ranking of the largest hydroelectric plants in the world. The tenth position goes to the Sayana Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant, in the Yenisei region.
Built between 1963 and 1985, the Russian hydroelectric plant produces, with just 10 turbines, 6400 MW of energy.
09th – Longtan Dam – China
China, as it should be, arrives in this ranking to occupy the ninth position with the Longtan Dam hydroelectric plant, located along the Hongshui River.
The plant has a production capacity of 6426 MW.
8th – Xiangjiaba – China
China also ranks eighth in the ranking of the world’s largest hydroelectric dams, this time with the Xiangjiaba plant, located in southwest China’s Yunnan province.
The plant’s capacity is 6448 MW.
7th – Grand Coulee – USA
The seventh largest hydroelectric plant in the world is in the USA, along the Columbia River. The hydroelectric plant has a generation capacity of up to 6809 MW.
Built between 1933 and 1942, this is the largest power plant in the United States.
06th – Tucuruí – Brazil
Brazil’s turn has come! The sixth largest hydroelectric plant in the world is on Tupiniquim land. Located along the Tocantins River, the Tucuruí plant has an electrical generation capacity of 8370 MW.
This is the first hydroelectric project built in the Amazon Forest, completed in 1984.
It is planned to expand the plant’s capacity, if this occurs, the hydroelectric plant’s capacity will increase to 10,500 MW.
5th – Guri – Venezuela
Venezuela, a country bordering Brazil, ranks fifth in this ranking. The Guri plant, built on the Canoni River, has a generation capacity of up to 10,200 MW.
The hydroelectric plant supplies the entire country and still exports energy to Brazil, particularly to the state of Roraima.
4th – Belo Monte – Brazil
Still in South American lands, the fourth position in the ranking goes to the Belo Monte plant, in Brazil.
The hydroelectric plant, inaugurated in 2016, has a generation capacity of 11,233 MW.
The total cost of the Belo Monte plant’s work was R $ 26 billion. At the time it was being built, the hydroelectric plant caused controversy, especially due to the environmental impacts related to the work.
The main one involves the diversion of the natural flow of the river that affects the local fauna and flora. Not to mention the damage caused to the indigenous and riverside population that, with the construction of the plant, inevitably had to be evicted.
3rd – Xiluodu – China
The gold medal in the ranking of the largest hydroelectric plants in the world goes to the Xiluodu plant, along the Jinsha River.
The hydroelectric plant currently has the capacity to generate 13,860 MW of energy.
In addition to providing electricity, the dam of the plant is also important to prevent flooding and to help navigate the river.
The largest hydroelectric plant in Brazil
The second largest hydroelectric plant in the world is also the largest hydroelectric plant in Brazil. We are talking about the Itaipu hydroelectric plant, located on the Paraná River, between the border of Brazil and Paraguay, the only one in the world built and shared by two countries.
Until 2012, the Itaipu Hydroelectric was considered the largest in the world, losing the post to the Chinese Three Gorges hydroelectric plant.
In 2020, the plant celebrated 46 years of existence and the impressive mark of 2.6 billion MW generated. Just so you can get an idea of the hydroelectric plant’s grandiosity, this amount of energy would be enough to supply the entire planet for 43 uninterrupted days.
The Itaipu plant has a capacity of 14,000 MW, and the energy generated is distributed between the two countries. Currently, 10 plants generate energy for Paraguay and another 10 for Brazil.
However, Paraguay uses only half of the energy produced by its share, the rest is sold to Brazil.
The Itaipu plant is responsible for supplying 19% of the current Brazilian demand for electricity.
Brazil still has important plants, in addition to those already mentioned, such as the Jirau and Santo Antônio hydroelectric plant, both located on the Madeira River, in the state of Rondônia.
The Ilha Solteira hydroelectric plant, located in the State of São Paulo, also appears in the ranking of the largest in the world and in Brazil, occupying the 24th position.
It is also important to mention the Xingó and Paulo Afonso plant, both built along the São Francisco River, but in different states, the first being between the states of Alagoas and Sergipe and the second in the state of Bahia.
The largest hydroelectric plant in the world
First and foremost, the largest hydroelectric plant in the world is the Three Gorges Dam, located in China along the Yangtze River.
The plant has a production capacity of no more, no less than 22,500 MW. Completed in 2012, the hydroelectric plant consumed a budget of around US $ 25 billion, in addition to displacing the Brazilian plant in Itaipu.
Currently, the Três Gargantas hydroelectric plant also has the important function of controlling flooding in the region embraced by the river. The plant is also used to facilitate navigation on the river.