A test of a solar power tower project in Nevada resulted in injuries to over one hundred birds, the federal government is reporting, though the project's owners say they've fixed the problem.
On January 14, during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project near Tonopah, Nevada, biologists observed 130 birds entering an area of concentrated solar energy and catching fire. That's according to Rudy Evenson, Deputy Chief of Communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management in Reno.
Evenson suggested that the birds may have been attracted by a glow the concentrated solar energy created above the project's sole tower....
According to Evenson, workers testing the plant moved approximately a third of the project's ten thousand mirrors to focus sunlight on a point 1,200 feet above the ground, approximately twice the height of the power tower at Crescent Dunes.
The test started at 9:00 a.m. on January 14, Evenson told Rewire. By 10:30, biologists working on the site began noticing what have become known as "streamers," trails of smoke and water vapor caused by birds entering the field of concentrated solar energy (a.k.a. "solar flux") and igniting.
By the time the test ended for the day at 3:00 p.m., biologists had counted 130 such "streamers." A subsequent test on January 15 reduced the number of mirrors aimed at the focal point above the tower, said Evenson, and that apparently ended the injuries to birds.
Oops. It is amazing how solar gets a pass on things that other industries would be hounded into bankruptcy over. ExxonMobil was fined by the Feds for 85 bird deaths at the company's natural gas facilities. These deaths were spread out over 5 states and over 5 years. This solar plant killed at least 130 birds in one location in 6 hours. ExxonMobil was fined $7000 per dead bird. Anyone want to bet on what the solar guys will be fined? Vegas has set the over-under at zero.