Itaipu is one of the largest HVDC overhead line transmission projects in the world, and one of two major ABB-built HVDC links built to supply the industrial southeastern region of São Paulo with power.
Owned by Furnas Centrais Elétricas in Rio de Janeiro (an Elétrobras company), the Itaipu HVDC Transmission project has a total rated power of 6,300 MW and voltage of ±600 kV, delivering power from the 12,600 MW Itaipu hydroelectric power plant.
The Itaipu HVDC transmission consists of two ±600 kV bipoles, each with a rated power of 3,150 MW, delivering power generated at 50 Hz from the Paraguay side of the Itaipu Dam (near Foz do Iguaçu in Paraná) to the 60 Hz network in São Paulo via the Ibiúna converter station.
For more than 20 years, Itaipu was the largest and most powerful HVDC transmission in the world. It was supplanted in 2010 when the 6,400 MW ±800 kV Xiangjiaba-Shanghai UHVDC transmission system went into commercial operation.
Itaipu transmission began on bipole 1 in October 1984 with 300 kV, and in July 1985 with 600 kV, and on bipole 2 in July 1990.
HVDC was chosen partly to supply power from the 50 Hz generators to the 60 Hz system, and partly because an HVDC link was economically preferable given the long distance involved.
The converter stations Foz do Iguaçu and Ibiuna represented a considerable step forward in HVDC technology compared to the HVDC stations of the 1970s. The two stations are still unique in their combination of size and advanced technology.