Fire disrupts production at India's 1,035-MW Sharavathi hydropower plant

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A fire that damaged India's 1,035-MW Sharavathi hydroelectric project last week is being blamed on a short circuit in the plant's power distribution lines, local sources report.

The fire, which caused an estimated US$14.6 million in damage when it gutted the plant's control room, is now under investigation by a panel including members from the Central Power Research Institute, Karnataka Power Corp. Ltd. and Karnataka Power Transmission Corp. Ltd.

KPC officials said they will likely use the time Sharavathi is off line to also evaluate whether or not the utility will upgrade the plant's 10 generating units as well.

The company did not say when it expects to begin rehabilitating the control room, but announced it has already started shortlisting companies to provide replacement equipment.

The plant was completed in 1965 and is located in western India on the Sharavati River. The facility is part of a complex that also includes the 55-MW Linganamakki and 240-MW Gerusoppa plants -- neither of which were affected by the fire.

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