Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bird Deaths Mount at Ivanpah Solar | ReWire

 Now desert tortoises aren't the only casualties of the ill-conceived concentrated solar power project in the Ivanpah Valley, located in California's Mojave Desert.  As BrightSource begins focusing light from thousands of mirrors on the power towers, birds that happen to be flying by are getting toasted by the intense heat.

This is a particular concern for folks in the San Luis Valley, where Saguache County commissioners approved a similar power tower project by SolarReserve last year.  The proposed site is located near three wildlife sanctuaries and Great Sand Dunes National Park.  Iconic Sandhill Cranes return each March near Monte Vista, while Bald Eagles seek to roost on the highest points around.  Because the San Luis Valley is an important wetland and flyway area, the impact of this project on avian life will likely be even greater.

Chris Clarke of ReWire reports below:


The owners of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station filed their monthly report with the California Energy Commission (CEC) this weekend, and the news is unsettling for anyone concerned with the plant's effect on desert wildlife. The project's owners reported seven birds found dead at the plant in August, at least one of them with burn injuries that may have been caused by the plant's concentrated solar energy.

As ReWire reported last week, similar mortalities are already being reported from September. A peregrine falcon was found injured in the first week of September, and ReWire has now heard unconfirmed reports that six total bird mortalities were recorded at the plant in that week. According to those reports, four of the dead birds had charred or melted feathers when found.

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