Brazil's Blackout Update: Authorities Investigate Itaipu Outage
Major cities in Brazil and parts of Paraguay experienced a blackout yesterday night as Itaipu dam suffered a failure in three of its transmission lines, the largest failure in 25 years of the dam's existence. The dam supplies about 20 percent of Brazil’s power. The power went out at around 10 pm and was not restored until after midnight. More than 50% of states in Brazil had their power cut off. Major cities including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo remained in pitch dark for hours. Subway stopped and airports ceased operations temporarily. It is estimated 60 million people were affected by the outage. Itaipu dam is one of the world’s largest operating hydroelectric plants, second only to China's Three Gorges Dam in power generating capacity. The dam is back up at nearly full capacity and running normally now.
But, Brazilian authorities are now looking into why the power outage happened.
There have been several possible reasons cited for the outage. The most likely one is a weather anomaly. There are also a few conspiracy theories, suggesting computer hacking could be behind the blackout. But, authorities are staying away from saying that the outage could have been intentional at this point in time.
With the Olympics coming to Rio de Janeiro in 2016, concerns have been raised about Brazil's current power generating infrastructure. Some adjustments will likely have to be made to ensure something like that does not happen during the Olympic Games in 2016.
Previous NP coverage here.