Friday, November 13, 2009

Outage or outrage...

Brazil's Big Blackout ...or both in this case; I bet it's not what you think! I'm on about a power outrage, or powercut! Earlier this week there was a power cut in Brazil, no big deal you think but it involved the Itaipu hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River between Brazil and Paraguay. It is the largest operational hydroelectric power plant in the world and the dam is second only to the Three Gorges Dam (Yangtze River, China) in its generating capacity. [Wiki] It was also elected as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by American Society of Civil Engineers. The rated nominal power of each of the 18 (out of 20) generating units is nine times what all the water from the nearby natural wonder of the world, Iguaçu Falls, would have the capacity to generate. Not newsworthy? Just look at the image opposite, or if your eyes are like mine click on the image to enlarge (pdf). It was possibly bigger than the 1999 Brazil Blackout and certainly bigger than the Java Blackout four years ago (although in Java more people were effected). Now, only a few months ago, by complete coincidence, Brazil finally granted sovereignty of the dam (and a load more dosh) to Paraguay and although many in Brazil may suspect soemthing I'm sure this has nothing to do with the blackout, which has been blamed on the heavy storms...I just hope there are no similar storms for the World Cup and Olympics in a few years time!

Anyway, I was just impressed that it was pretty much the equivalent of the whole of Europe in a blackout!

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Paul said...

Well that beats the usual "it's as big as Belgium," comparisons into a cocked hat doesn't it.

Those Paraguyans have always been a funny bunch, even during the Pinochet regime Chileans would rather admit to being Chilean (and all that could mean) that lie and say they were from Paraguay.

Span Ows said...

Historically they've always been a bit different, they were "brought up" to be very inward looking. There was a massive war (the worst in South American history) that pretty much killed most of the country (interestingly many versions of the history blame this on the British!) but I must say when I was there (oh dear I must stop that) they seemed very nice and not that different from other South Americans but much more in the "Latin" mould of the top half of South America rather than the "Euro" mould of the bottom half; they do have an almost Delboy like reputation though, which for a whole country is saying something!