Uh oh: California solar plant fries thousands of birds in mid-flight

posted at 10:01 pm on August 18, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

Oh, dear. They even have a name for them:

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.

Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one “streamer” every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator’s application to build a still-bigger version.

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.

Trade-offs, people. Always trade-offs.

Jon Gabriel on the history of this plant with environmentalists and regulators:

The facility has concerned environmentalists in the past, as its construction bladed over 3,500 acres of virgin desert. Being California, the state government required BrightSource to relocate a bunch of desert gopher tortoises to the tune of $22 million. The installation also endangers pilots flying the busy Los Angeles–Las Vegas corridor; they can be dazzled by the intense light.

It remains to be seen if regulators will stop the plant’s operation, but at least the world’s largest bug zapper should educate environmentalists and green energy boosters.

For too long, the public has been told that energy production is less a matter of physics than one of morality. Renewable energy like solar and wind are sold as “good” while reliable energy sources like oil and coal are “evil.” Methods like hydroelectric, nuclear and natural gas all were initially sold as clean and green, but became demonized the instant they turned a profit or revealed unintended consequences.

Between this and slaying bald eagles with impunity, green energy is literally killin’ it lately.


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Extra Crispy or Blackened?

PolAgnostic on August 18, 2014 at 10:02 PM

So f***ing stupid. Kill the birds to save the environment, man!

abobo on August 18, 2014 at 10:04 PM

This has always been my biggest concern with solar panels. They can act as both a mirror and a magnifying glass. Just imagine a vast area covered with them and now imagine a commercial airliner going over that area.

nobar on August 18, 2014 at 10:04 PM

The most hilarious part is getting into someone over “sustainable” energy and asking them about the killing that goes in in solar and wind power.

They sneer off the deaths, talking about the number of deaths by “feral” cats and nature in general.

Hypocrites.

itsspideyman on August 18, 2014 at 10:05 PM

The Greens just need to call them Kenny Roger’s Roasters on the Wing.

And donate the fried fowl to the poor.

A Super Solar Cooker for the Needy!

profitsbeard on August 18, 2014 at 10:05 PM

I Want To Fry Up An Eagle

Bitter Clinger on August 18, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Craziness. And their windmills are even worse, just undisguised deathmills for birds. See this truly sickening video of a big bird biting the dust to a windmill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwVz5hdAMGU

So the leftist greenies do all this economically idiotic “eneregy” projects… all for global warming, er, or whatever they call it. Here’s my headlines comment earlier:

From Steven Goddard: 1986 Hansen : 5 Degrees Warming By 2010. My comment:

Lol on that. Hansen et al have been, as per lead ipcc author Stephen Schneider’s instructions, “offering up [bs] scary scenarios” for decades. Temperatures to rise 5° in 30 years with 4.5 feet of sea level rise? Said in 1986? Then that’s what we should be seeing… NOW. But we see… … nothing. No rise in temperature, no rise in sea level. None. As far as I can see. And feel. And any “data” showing the most minimal of rises is subject to serious doubt.

Not one of the Chicken Little’s outrageous predictions of doom has ever even come close to coming true. It’s ridiculous. And they never stop with their constant fear mongering. A broken record. It’s Deja Vu again and again. And the starkness of their glaring inaccuracies is almost shocking in the sense that few among the leftists and MSM see this at all. Indeed they seem to think that’s Hansen’s and the climate model predictions have actually come true, that our world is right now in the process of boiling away. Not: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/06/still-epic-fail-73-climate-models-vs-measurements-running-5-year-means/

anotherJoe on August 18, 2014 at 10:11 PM

Just south of here there is a huge windmill farm, as in huge windmills and a lot of them spread our for miles.

Locals down there call them “birdchoppers”. You wouldn’t believe the carnage, especially during migration seasons.

novaculus on August 18, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Consequences are irrelevant. It’s their good intentions that truly matter.

MT on August 18, 2014 at 10:12 PM

and they want to build an even bigger one in California.

RickB on August 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM

If at first you don’t succeed, fry, fry a hen.

Jag909 on August 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM

My other Headlines comment earlier related to global warming:

Steven Goddard also has this post where he calls out the SF Examiner article: Report: California should prepare for a 3 ft rise in sea level this century.

It’s noted and the evidence is given for: The Sea level in the San Francisco Bay is lower now than 70 years ago.

My comment:

After a century of unrestrained runaway hockey stick style warming we should have had 10 to 20 meters of sea level rise like the Chicken Little Brigade keeps saying will happen.. someday. But we got… nothing. Zero. Oh yeah, less than zero. Something doesn’t add up.

anotherJoe on August 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Oh boy! BBQ!!

Newtie and the Beauty on August 18, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Trade-offs, people. Always trade-offs.

MKH, I think you hit the T key instead of J. After all you are dealing with environmental, lib sociopaths that would prefer we live the native life.

arnold ziffel on August 18, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Extreme sarcasm escapes me….I’m laughing too hard.

MichaelGabriel on August 18, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Crispy!

rob verdi on August 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Ah, they fly too close to the sun, my friends.

BuckeyeSam on August 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM

If only turkeys could fly a little higher. This would save time at Thanksgiving.

Fallon on August 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM

The most hilarious part is getting into someone over “sustainable” energy and asking them about the killing that goes in in solar and wind power.

They sneer off the deaths, talking about the number of deaths by “feral” cats and nature in general.

Hypocrites.

itsspideyman on August 18, 2014 at 10:05 PM

.
England found a “green solution” to the birds killed by wind generators …

… build them out in the shallows just offshore. The tide “sweeps” the bodies out to sea – no need for manual cleanup!

PolAgnostic on August 18, 2014 at 10:17 PM

These guys are brilliant. Brilliant.

Cindy Munford on August 18, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Consequences are irrelevant. It’s their good intentions that truly matter.

MT on August 18, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Perfectly phrased; an apt description of everything these True Believers promote.

Dolce Far Niente on August 18, 2014 at 10:18 PM

So we can’t kill a coyote to protect our kids and pets, but they can kill eagles and other birds? They can take away someone’s job in a light bulb or plastic bag factory or coal mine?

As usual progressivism kills.

PattyJ on August 18, 2014 at 10:19 PM

Consequences RESULTS are irrelevant. It’s their good intentions that truly matter.

MT on August 18, 2014 at 10:12 PM

.
Made it an industrial grade libb-ism

PolAgnostic on August 18, 2014 at 10:20 PM

Streamers eh,…reminds me of the vapourizing scene in:
(sarc)

War Of The Worlds (2005)- The First Tripod
******************************************

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNPG68VkuPE

canopfor on August 18, 2014 at 10:21 PM

Collateral damage on the road to progressive Utopia. The ends justify the means, because.
Now, if they could just do something similar with people, Gaia would begin to heal.

/s

bobthm3 on August 18, 2014 at 10:21 PM

If at first you don’t succeed, fry, fry a hen.

Jag909 on August 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Heh. Good one.

MichaelGabriel on August 18, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Btw, MKH, it’s good to have more energy or “climate change” related posts again! It does seem, unfortunately, that since Erika left there have been few and far between on that. It would be good to have more, to expose the leftist bullsh|ters before they start succeeding in bamboozling conservatives again.

Oh, and while I’m at it, another Steven Goddard link: Climate Scientists Sinking Deeper And Deeper Into Their Own Cr@p: http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/climate-scientists-sinking-deeper-and-deeper-into-their-own-crap/

anotherJoe on August 18, 2014 at 10:22 PM

So we can’t kill a coyote to protect our kids and pets, but they can kill eagles and other birds? They can take away someone’s job in a light bulb or plastic bag factory or coal mine?

As usual progressivism kills.

PattyJ on August 18, 2014 at 10:19 PM

.
Where the heck do you live that you can’t kill a coyote?

The lib squishes in Ohio are all for exterminating those threats to their precious little coyote snacks foo-foo dogs.

PolAgnostic on August 18, 2014 at 10:22 PM

Well that’s going to put the bedwetters in a bit of twist..

dpduq on August 18, 2014 at 10:24 PM

Collateral damage on the road to progressive Utopia. The ends justify the means, because.
Now, if they could just do something similar with people, Gaia would begin to heal.

/s

bobthm3 on August 18, 2014 at 10:21 PM


Helllllooooo??????

Ever heard of Ebola?

Iran wanting nuclear weapons?

The SCOAMF and crew have LOTS of irons in the fire to help reduce the excess population.

PolAgnostic on August 18, 2014 at 10:25 PM

So, green nuts are responsible for the deaths of thousands of birds. Any word from PETA?

Aizen on August 18, 2014 at 10:26 PM

What would John Muir think? Environmentalists in the 2040s will be dumbfounded that industrial-scale wind and solar plants were embraced by the “greens” of the 20-teens. I expect that tearing down the bird crucifixes will be a big enterprise in the next few decades.

grgeil on August 18, 2014 at 10:28 PM

It’s like the Sierra Club supporting illegal immigration….then those illegals trash the national forests with pot farms.

MichaelGabriel on August 18, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Tastes like chicken.

viking01 on August 18, 2014 at 10:31 PM

Windmills killing eagles, and now this?

Quick, resurrect Rachel Carson. We have identified the real reasons behind the “silent spring.”

onlineanalyst on August 18, 2014 at 10:42 PM

So, a catapult on one side, and a big net on the other – result, free energy fried chicken! (where’s the patent office?).

OldEnglish on August 18, 2014 at 10:43 PM

If at first you don’t succeed, fry, fry a hen.

Jag909 on August 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Thread winner.

KMC1 on August 18, 2014 at 10:45 PM

If only turkeys could fly a little higher. This would save time at Thanksgiving.

Fallon on August 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on August 18, 2014 at 10:47 PM

Solar power is teh evil! It must be stopped until we can learn to control mother Gaia’s forces and live in harmony…

or something like that…

Skywise on August 18, 2014 at 10:48 PM

They taste better than Kentucky Fried Chicken–California Fried Raptors!

Just south of here there is a huge windmill farm, as in huge windmills and a lot of them spread our for miles.

Locals down there call them “birdchoppers”. You wouldn’t believe the carnage, especially during migration seasons.

novaculus on August 18, 2014 at 10:12 PM

The problem with wind turbines is the power generator boxes downwind of the turbine, which make attractive nesting sites for predatory birds with a bird’s-eye view of surrounding terrain and prey. The turbines often have vanes to keep them pointed toward the wind, so that the generator boxes are always downwind of the turbine blades.

Birds, particularly relatively heavy predatory birds, like airplane pilots, tend to take off upwind (through the plane of the turbine blades) in order to increase wing lift. In high winds, a bird might have only a fraction of a second between the passage of the blades, and one ill-timed takeoff can mean bye-bye birdie.

This problem could be avoided fairly cheaply by having cone-shaped tops on the generator boxes and support pylons to discourage birds from nesting there, but so far the genius regulators of the wind industry haven’t thought of requiring them.

Steve Z on August 18, 2014 at 10:52 PM

canopfor on August 18, 2014 at 10:21 PM

I liked this one much better.

Oldnuke on August 18, 2014 at 10:54 PM

I think Erika covered this over a year ago,

wolly4321 on August 18, 2014 at 11:07 PM

This is much more than an Oh, Oh.

Its another scandal from the land of the crazies.

Falcon46 on August 18, 2014 at 11:54 PM

Either the once every two minutes figure is wrong (by an order of magnitude) or the number reflects the peak daylight rate. Either way, it is appalling.

CA Conservative on August 19, 2014 at 12:14 AM

Open a Chik-fil-a at the energy plant. If you build it, they will come.

OxyCon on August 19, 2014 at 12:36 AM

With all the “streamers” becomes a casual thing, perhaps this will be the next form of capital punishment.

If it’s good enough to smoke endangered species without qualm, it should be good enough for our worst criminals.

J_Crater on August 19, 2014 at 1:34 AM

Windmills killing eagles, and now this?

Quick, resurrect Rachel Carson. We have identified the real reasons behind the “silent spring.”

Complete list of birds killed by nuclear power plants:

[end of list]

ajb3 on August 19, 2014 at 1:45 AM

I’ve got another word for them: idiots.

Look, they built it in the desert but everyone knows that solar needs to be converted into something or it just stays hot (like your car under the sun). The panels capture the heat and then those boneheads pump up water from the dinosaur age aquifer, run it through pipes that create steam which turn the turbines and generate the electricity. The desert has no water to spare! California is in a drought. The Colorado River is down. Ground water pumping is at 69% already and climbing. Jerry Brown’s lieutenant governor wants to migrate California residents to other states (how’s that gonna work?), and this solar plant is sucking up water while frying birds and blinding pilots.

Go big GREEN!

athenadelphi on August 19, 2014 at 1:45 AM

If you want the solar plant to come up with a solution, especially during the design phase when you can make changes, have them pay a penalty (or tax) on the externality of bird kills, so much for each bird fried. Might even make it a graduated scale. For a given size plant, the first thousand bird kills costs them $100 a bird, the next thousand costs them $200 a bird, the next thousand costs them $400 a bird, etc. perhaps done on an annual basis.

They’ll figure something that minimizes their penalties while being economically feasible.

Might also have a threshold, maybe pretty generous, that if exceeded, the plant no longer qualifies for solar/wind subsidies for a year and they still have to pay the penalties for bird kills. THAT will get their attention.

Russ808 on August 19, 2014 at 1:48 AM

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,”

They should call them Icarus.

itsnotaboutme on August 19, 2014 at 2:44 AM

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.

This is a liberal policy that calls for a liberal application of BBQ sauce.

itsnotaboutme on August 19, 2014 at 2:48 AM

If only turkeys could fly a little higher. This would save time at Thanksgiving.

Fallon on August 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM

.
Wild birds could do it . . . . . . . . . unfortunately Les Nessman didn’t know any better.

listens2glenn on August 19, 2014 at 3:06 AM

Jimbo Kern, from South Park: “So you see, we have to kill the animals, or else they’ll die.”

Ned: “We’re environmentalists.”

Wino on August 19, 2014 at 3:09 AM

Link to the clip above.

South Park proves truth is stranger than fiction.

Wino on August 19, 2014 at 3:12 AM

Complete list of birds killed by nuclear power plants:

[end of list]

ajb3 on August 19, 2014 at 1:45 AM

Not quite. I had a wild turkey fly over our security fence one night and slam into the side of the turbine building and break it’s neck. It set off the security motion detectors when it crossed the fence resulting in an intruder alarm. Our security shift supervisor apprehended the dead turkey and then field dressed it and took it home for dinner. Meanwhile I had to make a couple of reports about it to the Virginia dept. of Game and Fish and the NRC….and I didn’t even get a bite of dressing.

Oldnuke on August 19, 2014 at 6:38 AM

“Renewable energy” is such a buzzword of the left. When we have, conservatively, two hundred to four hundred years of various fossil fuels, they don’t need to be renewable. Long before they are depleted, the free market will develop new, feasible and sensible technologies to replace them…and the corporatism hoisted on us today.

RonRon on August 19, 2014 at 8:31 AM

Here are the three towers. I can see how planes and maybe even motorists could have problems with these monstrosities.
https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/ivanpah_all_towers.jpg

Patriot Vet on August 19, 2014 at 8:34 AM

“Common Core Electricity” – anon from Yahoo commenter.

Thought it was too funny not to pass along.

InTheBellyoftheBeast on August 19, 2014 at 8:38 AM

The Democrats’ War on Fowl strikes again. They are on the wrong side of history on this one.

TarasBulbous on August 19, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Uh oh: California solar plant fries thousands of birds in mid-flight
POSTED AT 10:01 PM ON AUGUST 18, 2014 BY MARY KATHARINE HAM

It looks as though the plant is not strictly solar. It runs on natural gas as well. They have asked to increase their gas consumption.

It’s been lauded as the world’s largest solar power plant, but the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System could also be called the world’s largest gas-fired power plant (largest as in physical size, not gas consumption). Each of the 4,000-acre facility’s three units has gas-fired boilers used to warm up the fluid in the turbines in the early morning, to keep that fluid at an optimum temperature through the night, and to boost production during the day when the sun goes behind a cloud.

The project’s managers, BrightSource Energy and NRG Energy, originally estimated that the plant’s main auxiliary boilers would need to run for an hour a day, on average, to allow the plant to capture solar energy efficiently. But after a few months of operation, they’re now saying they need to burn more gas, with the boilers running an average of five hours a day.

To that end, the companies have asked the California Energy Commission (CEC) to change the project’s license to allow Ivanpah to burn more than 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas a year, and the plant’s operators say that change won’t have any environmental impact.

http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/concentrating-solar/ivanpah-solar-plant-owners-want-to-burn-a-lot-more-natural-gas.html

Patriot Vet on August 19, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Solar will only work in passive devices to supplement home consumption – via panels or more likely eventually smart windows.

This big green stuff is deadly – and very footprint heavy. Eventually most will disappear.

Zomcon JEM on August 19, 2014 at 9:35 AM

“Renewable energy” is such a buzzword of the left. When we have, conservatively, two hundred to four hundred years of various fossil fuels, they don’t need to be renewable. Long before they are depleted, the free market will develop new, feasible and sensible technologies to replace them…and the corporatism hoisted on us today.

RonRon on August 19, 2014 at 8:31 AM

Renewable energy doesn’t exist. It’s a fallacy and a leftist fantasy. The so called renewables come from the same place all those horrible fossil fuels came from. The sun. It’s just that all those stored up fossil fuels were laid down and stored over millions of years. The renewables can only be produced over a growing season.

Oldnuke on August 19, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Renewable energy doesn’t exist. It’s a fallacy and a leftist fantasy. The so called renewables come from the same place all those horrible fossil fuels came from. The sun. It’s just that all those stored up fossil fuels were laid down and stored over millions of years. The renewables can only be produced over a growing season.

Oldnuke on August 19, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Kind of.
Some still include Hydro in their definition of renewables, though most states with a renewable fuel standard do not. The intention of RFSs is to drive technological improvement and investment. It is difficult to invest in hydro as the base technology hasn’t changed much since the water wheel was invented.

I automatically disregard anyone who talks about renewables. If they were truly concerned with climate change, they would be all in favor of carbon free, which would include hydro and nuclear.

James Hansen, who is one of the original global warming fear merchants, is on board with a massive conversion to nuclear.

Wood burning, biofuels, and ethanol are also sometimes considered renewable even though they are very carbon intensive energy sources.

The policies being advocated do not follow science for the betterment of the environment. They follow money and control for the betterment of the policy-makers.

airupthere on August 19, 2014 at 10:13 AM

After an oil spill, the environmentalists will show pictures of seabirds covered in oil 24 hours a day – but make no mention of the thousands and thousands of birds that are killed each year at Altamont Windfarm. Now we can add thousands of “streamers” from BrightSource to the list – but ignore it all – in the name of “green, renewable, clean energy”.

Hill60 on August 19, 2014 at 10:48 AM

0Solar, 0Wind

Bmore on August 19, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Kind of.
Some still include Hydro in their definition of renewables, though most states with a renewable fuel standard do not.

airupthere on August 19, 2014 at 10:13 AM

What put that water high enough to have the energy to turn that turbine? Last time I checked water don’t run up hill. Gotta have some work done on it to get to a higher level.

Oldnuke on August 19, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Just south of here there is a huge windmill farm, as in huge windmills and a lot of them spread our for miles.

Locals down there call them “birdchoppers”. You wouldn’t believe the carnage, especially during migration seasons.

novaculus on August 18, 2014 at 10:12 PM

What do you get, when a bird crosses a wind farm?

‘shredded tweet’

LouisianaLightning on August 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Bitter Clinger on August 18, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Dang it, you beat me to the only worthwhile contribution I could have made to this thread!

The Schaef on August 19, 2014 at 12:43 PM

You mean that pointing 20,000 mirrors the size of garage doors at a single point in the sky is killing birds? Who could have predicted that?

JusDreamin on August 19, 2014 at 1:44 PM

But, but… so what if they’re killing birds and bats? They mean well! They’re doing it for the children! Except… they don’t want you to have any children. Or birds or bats, apparently.

Gee, the eco-fascists seem to be in this racket to line their own pockets and/or gain political power over others.

theCork on August 19, 2014 at 3:04 PM

You see the dark patch in the foreground of the WUWT pictures. It’s a golf course. IN the middle of the Mojave, a 100 miles from any metropolitan area.
Draws the wild birds in like an oasis, which it is. Draws them fron the hills to the North. Which means the solar bake ovens are in a direct line between the birds natural habitat and the artificial oasis of the golf course.

So that bird cooked every two minutes might be on the low side.

papertiger on August 19, 2014 at 11:09 PM

Environmentalists missed their responsibility again.

Project engineers of such undertakings as Solar Collection sites and Wind Farms told Environmentalists of the problems caused to wild life flying over “Hot Spots” and into “Wind Turbines”.

The Environmentalists failed to inform the wildlife of the problems and to avoid these areas.

MSGTAS on August 20, 2014 at 9:24 AM