Paraguay’s electricity generation is produced by 100 per cent renewable energy sources with a power production capacity close to 60,000 GWh per year. The 14,000 MW Itaipú hydropower plant, together with the 3,200 MW Yacyretá and 210 MW Acaray plants, supply the National Interconnected System to satisfy electricity demand.
Acaray is owned by the state-owned generation and distribution company, ANDE, while Itaipú and Yacyretá are binational hydropower plants owned jointly with the governments of Brazil (Itaipú Binational), and Argentina (Yacyretá Binational Entity).
Itaipú alone accounted for 90.8 per cent of supply to Paraguay’s total electricity demand in 2018. Itaipú is the largest hydropower plant in the world in electricity generation and the second in terms of installed capacity. The plant closed 2018 with its fourth best production in history at 96.6 TWh since beginning operations, and set a world record in 2016 with the production of 103.1 TWh.
In 2018, domestic demand was met using only 35 per cent of Paraguay’s’ overall power production from hydroelectric resources. The surplus of electricity generated from the binational hydropower plants Itaipú and Yacyretá is sold to Brazil and Argentina, making Paraguay the fourth largest exporter of electricity in the world. Electricity exports represent more than 70 per cent of total generation and constitute approximately 25 per cent of total exports. In 2017 Paraguay exported
USD 2.1 billion worth of electricity, which represented 7.1 per cent of GDP.
All three of Paraguay’s hydropower assets are undergoing developments as a means to increase power generation to meet the country’s requirements by 2030.
Itaipú is undergoing a modernisation project to increase the power plant’s asset life and boost electricity generation. The modernisation project will take at least 10 years with an investment of USD 500 million. The GE consortium was contracted for the early stages of the project to provide electrical equipment for the electrical modernisation of 24 overhead cranes.
In 2018, a call for bidding was made for the expansion of Yacyretá hydropower plant to add three turbine-generator units to the 3.2 GW plant’s existing 20 units. The expansion project will add 276 MW and will increase production by 9 per cent, increasing annual generation from 20 TWh to 22 TWh. Paraguay and Argentina through the Yacyretá Binational Entity will fund the cost of the USD 500 million works. Meanwhile, the 20 existing units are undergoing rehabilitation to increase their useful life by 50 years.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a USD 125 million loan in 2018 to modernise Acaray hydropower plant to extend its working life and boost its reliability and generating capacity. The programme includes rehabilitation of the facility and improvements to its operation and management as well as the modernisation of the plant’s electromechanical equipment.
ANDE is progressing with upgrading, strengthening and extension of the transmission and distribution infrastructure as part of Paraguay’s new master plan 2016-2025. The masterplan aims to meet the sustained growth of energy demand that was estimated at an annual rate of 8.6 per cent. The reinforcement will also contribute to the efficient utilisation of the binational hydropower plants Itaipú and Yacyretá in 2030, when the country is expected to be consuming all of its generated electricity.
Paraguay also plans to continue developing its hydropower potential with projects such as Itá Corá-Itatí (1,600 MW) scheduled with Argentina at an estimated total cost of USD 4 billion. Itá Corá-Itatí project is in the pre-feasibility stage with tenders for environmental study having been announced in 2018.
Besides hydropower, biomass and fossil fuels make up Paraguay’s energy mix, accounting for 44 and 40 per cent respectively, of which all the fossil fuels are imported. Paraguay’s need to minimise importation of fossil fuels prompted the creation of the country’s first sectoral policy, the 2040 national energy policy. The 2040 energy policy will guide energy development towards harnessing the country’s resources, the efficient use of energy for the country’s social and economic development and increasing awareness of energy benefits among the populations.
This country profile is featured in the 2019 Hydropower Status Report. Download the report: hydropower.org/statusreport
This profile was last updated in May 2019