Some of the 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, at the Ivanpah Solar ElectirIc Generating System in Primm, Nev. New estimates for the Ivanpah solar plant, an innovative year-old $2.2 billion solar project with Google as a major investor, say thousands of birds are dying yearly, roasted by the concentrated sun rays.
This October 2013 photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a burned MacGillivray's Warbler that was found at the Ivanpah solar plant in the California Mojave Desert. Workers at a state-of-the-art new solar plant have a word for the birds that fly over the plants five-mile field of mirrors, streamers, for the puff of smoke as the birds ignite in mid-air and fall singed to the ground.
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IVANPAH DRY LAKE, Calif. — A new form of solar energy is having an unwanted side effect: It makes some birds ignite in midair.
California’s energy commission is studying the issue of bird deaths at a new kind of solar plant that works with concentrated sun rays. The technology has proved unexpectedly deadly to birds at a new solar plant in the Mojave Desert. It’s owned by Google and two California energy companies.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is urging the state to hold off on permitting another plant of the same kind. It wants more study of what it says is the significant number of birds igniting and falling as they fly above the plant.
BrightSource Energy and NRG Solar say they are studying methods of reducing bird deaths.