Another look: Solar’s impacts on birds

Marlo Lewis from CEI describes his recent drive past the Ivanpah Solar Generation facility. The short version of his post is that solar is still far more expensive than other forms of energy and has its own list of environmental impacts that it must begin to address before it can even begin to claim that it can compete with coal, gas, nuclear, or other energy sources.

So I’m headed back to California from Las Vegas on I-15 when my eyes are dazzled by the light. Immense rectangular objects on three gigantic towers shine brighter than the desert sky in the noonday Sun. I avert my gaze, finding the discomfort level about the same as staring at an oncoming car with the brights on at night. …

Ivanpah began generating power in February of this year. Even before commercial operation commenced, newsoutlets reported accounts of singed, scorched, and possibly vision-impaired birds. In April, the National Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) Forensics Laboratory published a preliminary analysis of avian mortality at three California solar facilities. Of those, Ivanpah was the worst offender.

FWS investigators found that cloud-like emanations near the rectangular boilers (see photo below) attract insects, which attract small birds, which attract birds of prey, creating a “mega trap” for both local and migratory winged creatures.

Read Lewis’ full post on

30. July 2014 by Jason Hayes
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