The article reports:
When investigators visited the $2.2 billion Ivanpah plant last year before its February launch, they saw bird-based smoke plumes (known as “streamers” by employees) shoot through the air once every two minutes. BrightSource Energy—one of the companies involved in Ivanpah and spearheader of the proposed larger solar farm—estimates about 1,000 such deaths occur annually, but the Center for Biological Diversity says the carnage could climb to 28,000. Either way, investigators want the planned solar farm put on hold until a full year of bird deaths at Invanpah is tabulated.
We hear a lot about the ecological damage done by traditional energy plants, how much ecological damage does the death of 28,000 birds do?
The article explains the problem with the Ivanpah plant:
The desert gets some of the best solar radiation in the country, but Ivanpah is also the biggest solar farm to employ power towers—a system wherein 300,000 garage-door-sized mirrors reflect light on boiler towers that produce steam to rotate turbines. Like a lethal disco ball, the solar farm singes birds as it generates electricity for 140,000 homes.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials reported this month that power-tower solar farms have “the highest lethality potential” of any California solar project. The new BrightSource farm would have a 75-story power tower and stand in the flight path of more than 100 endangered species along the California-Arizona border. Investigators say it would be four times as lethal as Ivanpah.
Unfortunately, animals and insects are attracted to light—and concentrated light just concentrates the problem. The investigators told the Associated Press that 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.” Ivanpah officials think they can solve the streamer problem despite biologists saying there’s no known way to curb the deaths.
I think we need to do some more research before we attempt to convert to alternative energy sources. There is no way the Keystone Pipeline could cause this much damage, yet it is not being approved because of potential environmental damage.