Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays — “streamers,” for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. [Associated Press]
WHAT PRICE energy? Our power grids in disrepair, solar farms and gigantic power-towers are being erected without a single thought of costs to nature, with expansion happening amid the slaughter of thousands of birds. Once again man doing his worst to survive while nonchalantly capturing nature’s most beautiful and enduring creatures in mid flight and frying them in the air.
Google and BrightSource are a major players, as is NRG Energy, Inc., with the former committing $1 billion to wind and solar projects without thinking of the environmental costs. BrightSource’s newest power-tower has four times the lethality for birds than earlier models, according to reports.
The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.
The deaths are “alarming. It’s hard to say whether that’s the location or the technology,” said Garry George, renewable-energy director for the California chapter of the Audubon Society. “There needs to be some caution.”
[...] Federal wildlife officials said Ivanpah might act as a “mega-trap” for wildlife, with the bright light of the plant attracting insects, which in turn attract insect-eating birds that fly to their death in the intensely focused light rays.
Federal and state biologists call the number of deaths significant, based on sightings of birds getting singed and falling, and on retrieval of carcasses with feathers charred too severely for flight.
As regular readers around here know, we are serious bird lovers. Having followed this story and watch it develop it’s overwhelming to comprehend and close to impossible to write about without fury.
These power-towers should be halted until a full and complete investigation into how to keep birds from being slaughtered in the thousands can be averted.
The commission is now considering the application from Oakland-based BrightSource to build a mirror field and a 75-story power tower that would reach above the sand dunes and creek washes between Joshua Tree National Park and the California-Arizona border.
The proposed plant is on a flight path for birds between the Colorado River and California’s largest lake, the Salton Sea — an area, experts say, is richer in avian life than the Ivanpah plant, with protected golden eagles and peregrine falcons and more than 100 other species of birds recorded there.
BrightSource is reportedly offering $1.8 million for “anticipated bird deaths at Palen,” which is so offensive it should leave anyone of conscience speechless.
Wildlife officials said they witnessed “birds entering the solar flux and igniting, consequently become a streamer.” A “streamer” is what humans have named birds who are scorched in mid air.
It is so incomprehensibly sad to ponder.
Sweet Jesus, we are a despicable race. There is nothing in nature we won’t destroy, which means our eventual demise, of course, though we’re too arrogant to anticipate it.