USGS releases bird and insect incineration footage from Ivanpah Solar Electric Facility


The United States Geological Survey (USGS) released the following footage showing flying birds and insects incinerated by the intense heat near the solar towers of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Facility.

Though USGS claims that “fewer than 15 birds were observed being impacted by the solar flux in more than 700 hours of video”, USGS curiously states, “we are uncertain of the origin of dark trails following the birds.” USGS also fails to quantify what percentage of the 700 hours of footage is duplicative (multiple cameras were utilized) or is of the solar flux when in actually operation (i.e. daytime vs. nighttime — much of the surveillance was nighttime thermal and infrared imaging of birds and bats).

A recent study found Ivanpah killed 6,185 birds in 2015, including about 1,145 that were burned up in the plant’s solar flux. Ivanpah has also been known to blind airline pilots flying over Southern California’s desert.

 

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224 thoughts on “USGS releases bird and insect incineration footage from Ivanpah Solar Electric Facility

      • It would be a different story if it were actually making a contribution to the grid like real power plants, but birds or no birds, this contraption was a huge waste of public money.

        Speaking of the birds, I can’t imagine this desert valley south of Vegas has many to begin with (it’s bat country), so more than 6,000+ birds last year are probably mostly migratory, and there were of 83 different species!

        This makes me question the accuracy of the numbers they are publicizing. I’m guessing they found that many corpses, but there were probably thousands more (I’ve read up to 20,000-30,000 estimates) that were incinerated over the 6.25 sq mi no-fly zone.

        Closest google street view photo of Helios One

        https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ivanpah+Solar+Electric+Generating+System/@35.552158,-115.457778,3a,75y,283.66h,96.18t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1s-zHsst4F0iBQ%2FVECC6sxqyMI%2FAAAAAAABTgc%2FHhdHaCuKgBAQuzS-xY0Mg8E5h1b4i3KRQCLIB!2e4!3e11!6s%2F%2Flh3.googleusercontent.com%2F-zHsst4F0iBQ%2FVECC6sxqyMI%2FAAAAAAABTgc%2FHhdHaCuKgBAQuzS-xY0Mg8E5h1b4i3KRQCLIB%2Fw277-h100-n-k-no%2F!7i7680!8i2764!4m5!3m4!1s0x80cf4334ceebc76d:0x81620c57d7b15ade!8m2!3d35.56222!4d-115.472875!6m1!1e1


      • I’d be a little bit more concerned about the number of innocent civilians getting fried by drone attacks. Just as a reality check.


      • this contraption was a huge waste of public money.

        It was designed to fail. Not including molten salt storage makes produce power at the time when it has the lowerest resale value.


      • Bats as rule don’t fly during daylight. And, even the desert has more life in it than you may imagine. A climate that supports bats will support insect-eating birds as well. Another project we can thank Gov. Brown for supporting. For a “green” governor he is and always has been an environmental catastrophe.


      • That KFC no fry zone is huge compared to the actual tower target area.

        Based on the longest distance from a mirror, I guesstimated that the solar image of that array is about 30 feet in diameter, including both the angular size of the sun (0.5 degrees) plus the penumbral region due to the size of the individual mirrors, which I believe are about 6 meters square.

        But the bird habitat in the vapor phase region is many times larger than that.

        Those birdaromas don’t look like any sparrow sized object to me.

        This contraption gets funnier and funnier, the more we learn about it.

        G


      • In other news of free money wastage; This morning’s Murky News of San Jose reports on its actual one full page business page, that the Icon of Green Enterprise; Tesla Motors, following what Elon Musk described as “production hell ” in June, and reported Earnings somewhat short of Analysts forecasts.

        Specifically the profits for the second quarter amounted to minus $293 M, as in millions of dollars.

        But don’t worry, there’s a slush fund from taxpayers that can take up the slack.

        I also heard from a source that almost accepted a job there, that their temporary workers get $12, $13, $14 per hour depending on the shift, and they do not get choice of shift. Overtime work is mandatory. It sounds like a great company.

        No, the almost accepted, decided to decline the job.

        Oh, I almost forgot, Tesla purchased Solar City for $2.6B. That’s the slickster outfit, that will use your roof space without paying you any rent, and then sell you your own solar electricity for less than PG&E will.

        And you don’t own the solar array so SC gets whatever taxpayer subsidy there still may be.

        Of course they get the installation subsidy, even if you don’t actually get any net electricity. SC does not have the best conversion efficiency solar panels.

        G


    • If this were a feature on a few ducks getting their feathers oiled in a Canadian oilsands tailing pond, the media, the naturalists, the SPCA and the greenies would be all over it, but Ivanpah gets a free pass. Such hypocrisy.


      • EXACTLY… Don’t forget about the 10’s of thousands of lil birdies chopped up by those pesky wind mills… what an abomination our politicians are!


      • Plus many, Trabla and don’t forget the Exxon Valdez the BP blow out, and you never hear ANY environmentalist talk about natural existing oil. nat gas seepage( and so on). Had a wonderful visit with my grandchildren last week, my daughter and husband , not so much after I showed them this web site and the various threads and commentaries. They left a week ago and I left messages about the subject, so far “crickets” On the other hand they work and in essence ( as they move up the cooperate levels) they are capitalists.
        But at 35 years old? They still have the ideology of ignorant students in their early twenties. Oh well the grands are into Kayaking and I leave it at that.


      • GJ
        I – as an individual – would be very leery about the H tri-syllable.
        Emotive – and rightly so.
        Talking about an avian disaster, or an avian catastrophe – fair do’s.

        Auto – also decidedly concerned at the number of our feathered friends – of, I read, 83 species [Robert W Turner; August 3, 2016 at 4:24 pm ] – permanently removed from life.


    • “we are uncertain of the origin of dark trails following the birds.”
      ====================
      seriously? either the birds are shitting themselves or what you have there is smoke.


    • Environmentalists do not care what this does to the environment. They care only for their agenda, and they use the excuse of environmental protection to achieve it.

      If they actually cared, they would’ve pushed for distributed solar power generation rather than centralized. That is: passive solar panels should have been installed on every roof in southern California. It would have been cheaper and much more efficient. Additionally, there would’ve been no flamed birds, fried insects, or crushed desert tortoises.

      So, why didn’t environmentalists go for distributed power generation instead of centralized? Simple. They wouldn’t have as much control over who gets how much power, or what must be paid for it.


  1. Hmm, only 6,185 birds? Are they sure it is not 6,186? And how about the insect count. As you can probably tell, I have a thing about exact numbers in the news. I guess that comes from being one of last engineers who used a slide rule while getting my degree.


    • Still have my “slipstick” in the side cabinet in the dining room … and I actually used it in engineering before we got hand held calculators. (Might be a clue to my age there.)


      • Don’t know what happened to my slide rule. Also, I do remember we had a Monroe crank handle calculating machine at my first job at GSI (Geophysical Services International) after Uni. That makes me about __ years old. Ouch!


      • Pickett, yellow 10-inch aluminum-bodied, black leather holster with the belt “accesory.” Chemistry, geology, statistics, trigonometry … It was particularly useful in stats. The teacher did not allow electronic calculators – “what if they quit?” he would ask. So, either pencil and paper or a slide rule.


      • I’ve got a special slide rule for use by an Air Force loadmaster to calculate B-52 CG and payload distributions.


      • The reason I have changed over to log/Trig tables is because the balls on my abacus have become too worn and shiny!


      • 4, and I still have the slide rule I used at the UW.
        And the 6,000 + number they post is a MINIMUM. They did NOT have film for ALL daylight hours of operation, the resolution of the video is not sufficient to pick up very small birds and insects, and any bird that was damaged but was able to fly away and die after getting out of range was not counted either.


      • Yep, you can leave it up to the greens to save the climate while destroying nature at the same time.


    • I had a 4″ circular slide rule that got me all the way through high school. It fit into my shirt pocket so I didn’t look dorky with some long slipstick on my belt … I attribute my “nose for bad numbers” to having to mentally estimate the location of the decimal point …

      w.


      • I managed to give away my slipsticks just before the value plummeted. I still have a wood one my dad gave me about 1953. I think the value may eventually go back up after whatever we have in lieu of an election this Fall.


      • Had a leather holstered 6 inch slipstick thru college. Still have it. My first year at HBS was the very first time electronic calculators were allowed in finals exams at Harvard. Unfair advantage on add subtract. But I had learned something from famous economist JKG as an undergrad, that he said he learned while administering the price/rationing commission during WW2. What he said was, he learned how to guestimate a column total sum to within 10% just by eyeball. And if the answer to the question at hand with that column of numbers depended on accuracy better than 10%, then you had the wrong question.
        That thought applies to CAGW.


      • Exactly my experience. First a reality check for the decimal point, then work out the details.


      • My slide rule was in its case on my belt (or with my books when in uniform) through sophomore year in college.
        But I competed in slide rule, math, and science in high school, so I was the ultimate nerd even then. No need to try to hide it – it paid my way through school. And provided beer money for the others as well.


      • Still have my Picketts… somewhere:) Speaking of decimal points, I still have my first calculator (which, like my Picketts, still work, which is more than I can say for me…, but I digress). It is a Remington Rand, and it had no decimal point. When you did a calc, the digits to the left of the decimal appeared on the screen. To see the digits on the right of the point, you toggled a button and they magically appeared. No birds or insects were harmed in the use of either the Picketts or the calculator…


      • I still have (and occasionally use) several. I also have an ancient working slide-rule tie-clip.


      • Paul Coppin: “Still have my Picketts… somewhere:) “

        Mine is within arm’s reach of where I’m sitting.


    • There are still a few of us around who actually used sliderules in engineering. Willis is right about practice with them gives you a feel for magnitudes and even fairly decent estimates of the correct answer


      • Gary, I had several but my favorite was the Pickett Speed Rule (all metal except the cursor. It is remarkable the number of calculations that could be done on that slide rule.


      • @ Leonard Lane, and the hard drive never chrashed ( Although in my age bracket that could happen anytime, and when I was a lot younger it always seem to “crash” on weekends


    • Some old school professors still introduce students to older methods, though I’m sure those days are numbered. I graduated in 2009 and know how to map with plane table and alidade.

      P.S. Okay it’s worse than I thought, spell check doesn’t even recognize alidade.


      • If you have slopes to do, I have an old Abney from days gone bye. Or perhaps that old Brunton pocket transit?


      • Well I certainly used a slide rule to do engineering. I don’t recall ever being aloud to use any sort of artificial calculating contrivance in ANY exam in school. Certainly I used a slide rule during my studies while working on a lab project for example, but it was strictly forbidden to enter any examination room with anything besides a respectable set of clothing.

        They provided the exam paper booklet in which to write the answers, and they provided the pencil to write them with. And you better not have anything that remotely looks like paper on your person.

        Did I say that when I went to school, we were taught how to do mathematics, including arithmetic, and trigonometry, which as far as I recall is about the limit of what you can do with a slide rule.

        I had a four inch diameter circular one, and a six inch and ten inch K&E wood / plastic one.

        The 10 inch one had a mechanism for doing a sort of “vernier calculation” tat involved a second manipulation using both sides of the rule, and that gave you one extra digit of resolution; if your rule was made accurately.

        I lost the cursor from both the six and ten inch ones so they are now useless.

        I still remember how to do the pencil and paper calculations.

        I saw a Tee shirt last weekend which said:

        “What part of x = -b/2a +/- sqrt (b^2 / 4a^2 – c/a) do you not understand ? ”

        So does anybody still know how to derive Cardan’s solution for the roots of the cubic polynomial:

        x^3 + px + q = 0 ??

        I developed my own derivation of his solution but these days nobody solves such things.

        Computers are fast enough to come up with the correct answer just by a random guessing program (eventually).

        we also NEVER ever were allowed to sit an exam with an open text book. For some reason, they wanted us to actually learn something, other than where to find it in what text book.

        G


      • So you’re saying my sextant is not out of date?

        [The mods look outside. Yes, the stars and sun are still there. 8<) .mod]


      • Paul,
        I ask my OOWs to do sextant calculations – and actual position finding – regularly.

        Without GPS, many were ‘blind’, until I instituted this.
        Now, I hope that they can navigate.
        I see US Navy, also, requires this. Hat tip to them!
        RN – I hope – had never varied from this, but very open to education.

        Auto – an utterly unreconstructed magnetic compass and sextant guy.
        Blimey – when I first went to sea, the Master could order a seafarer to be hung at the yard arm . . . .
        [Hadn’t actually happened for yonks & yonks & yonks [1865, maybe].
        But – still . . . . . . . .]


    • My dad majored in math for undergrad. He remembers walking into a building at the start of a semester and seeing dozens of slide rules in the trash cans. He looked at them and could tell there was nothing wrong with them, so he was a bit confused. Turns out personal calculators had become cheap enough and powerful enough that all the math and science majors literally threw their slide rules in the trash.

      He also used the school computer that took up one or more rooms. And punch cards. Kids and teens look at me like I am a fossil when I admit to having owned cassettes and using floppy disks that were actually floppy. They must think people his age came from the primordial ooze.


      • My retired military and airline pilot buddy loves to show off his venerable round pilot’s pocket slide rule. Does it all.


    • I was still in college when the first Bowmar “brain” , Sinclair and TI, calculators came out. My first was a TI SR-10 but it had no pi key; I quickly got an SR-50 when it came out.

      Back then if anyone asked us “Why do you need a calculator?”, the answer easily included explaining such things as precision, speed, making fewer mistakes, no interpolation, and .. weight savings – elimination of lugging around trig and log tables.

      If you ask a high school student that same question today their answer is – “Well DUH! … I need it for math class!”


    • OMG I love this site! One guy has a web site with info and pictures of hundreds of slide rules. Another posts a link to a site with a virtual slide rule. And dozens claiming they either still have one or more with other telling of their use pre-hand held calculator days. Amazing. You’re all nerds – and I mean that as the highest form of compliment!


  2. I am sure an “environmental impact study” was successfully completed before proceeding. Unintended consequences – Afteral birds and insects, they dont vote or bribe.


  3. Cams probably on the tower itself, not outlier mirrors which injure birds, destroy their survivability. In the desert, killing 6000 birds is like killing 60,000 at the beach, as a gross estimate. That is, it is vastly more proportionally harmful because the desert is so unproductive in the first place. It is like saying the heat only killed 3 tortoises that got among the array from radiant heat. Yeah, but there were only 3 in the first place.


  4. Wrote about this. The burnt birds are called smokers by the staff. Dark trail origins. Staff reckons better than 1 an hour of daylight operation. So something very off with the USGS statement.


    • And landscape. Gov. Brown regards the plant as “exporting” pollution to the desert. Presumably the desert must be a good place for greens to dump pollution.


      • I should say that I truly dislike California for so many reasons, this is just another reason. Not that everyone in California is a hard-left liberal nutter.


      • John,
        Note your qualification –
        “Not that everyone in California is a hard-left liberal nutter.”
        Agreed.

        But – from this side of the pond – it certainly seems that a good few are, indeed, labelable as ‘hard-left liberal nutter’ – as you suggest.

        Auto


  5. I think this is horrific. There is NO excuse for this. In the name of “saving the planet” they are doing far, FAR more harm to the planet than ANY clean, quiet nuclear or natural gas fired power plant ever possibly could.
    This needs to stop. Take the mirrors away and put them in cubicle farms so leftist narcissists can stare at themselves all day.


    • No No No, we can’t put all those mirrors in the same cubicle farm, heavens NO, if they happen to point at each other accidentally the “back radiation” could cause immense “warming” and the whole Earth could melt…… /sarc off

      Yes indeed, fools should not be allowed to “play” with radiation physics, heck they could melt an entire planet or something. Reminds me of a co-worker when we were using a Neodymium Yag laser (about 10 watts) to test some photo sensitive crystals, he had a tie (for younger folks a fabric strip hung around a gentlemans neck and used to convey authority) hanging in the lab with multiple (and I mean multiple) burn holes through the fabric. I guess he was auditioning to be a “streamer”, way back in the 1980’s.

      As an “advanced” amateur ornithologist (over 2000 bird species on 6 continents spotted) I find this massacre of birds totally obscene. And the notion that these fools are “saving the planet” is blood boiling.

      Cheers, KevinK


    • Don’t forget the quantity of water to wash the mirrors and the trucks to drive the workers around to do the washing.


      • Lest we forget; the desert blows around a lot of the same stuff the mirrors are made of. A couple of serious blows could end up causing quite a few mirror replacements. If you were writing this stuff as fiction, you’d go broke. Yet, here we are in (sur)real life.


  6. Why in the world would the USGS essentially l1e to keep this failed, money-losing, negative-ROI-but-for-tax-and-rate-surcharges, wildlife slaughtering (for no net benefit), project going?

    Commenter Christine exposes the Google, et. al. reason, here: http://greencorruption.blogspot.com/2014/11/not-enough-sun-shining-at-ivanpah-solar.html?m=1#.VGq2aWdOXDe

    (posted on March 17, 2016 on this WUWT thread: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/03/17/fail-ivanpah-solar-power-plant-not-producing-enough-electricity-may-be-forced-to-close/#comment-2168457 )

    Bottom line: Money.

    And, yes, the USGS IS essentially lying:

    … Experts have estimated that electricity from giant solar projects will cost at least twice as much as electricity from conventional sources. …

    The BrightSource system appears to be scorching birds that fly through the intense heat surrounding the towers, which can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

    The company, which is based in Oakland, Calif., reported finding dozens of dead birds at the Ivanpah plant over the past several months, while workers were testing the plant before it started operating in December. Some of the dead birds appeared to have singed or burned feathers, according to federal biologists and documents filed with the state Energy Commission.”

    “Regulators said they anticipated that some birds would be killed once the Ivanpah plant started operating, but that they didn’t expect so many to die during the plant’s construction and testing.

    The dead birds included a peregrine falcon, a grebe, two hawks, four nighthawks and a variety of warblers and sparrows. …

    (Source: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/13/the-2-2-billion-bird-scorching-solar-project-at-californias-ivanpah-plant/ (Wall Street Journal Article))

    Where is the wealthy philanthropist who will pay for a first-class documentary exposing this utterly ev1l situation and pay the price for airing it on primetime TV???

    Step, up!


  7. The “green”-back industry and their environmental lobbies are failing to live up to their green pedigree. As if anyone believes that is actually possible. Just the mass ecological disruption, and the destruction of flora and fauna, necessary to host and operate the windmill and solar farms is evidence of the “green”-back blight, with intermittent returns. Save Bambi!


  8. Not to appear helpful to these clueless bureaucrats or anything, but did anyone think of an actual solution to what must have been an obvious problem from the start? For instances, metal screening around the tower, steer birds AWAY from the facility by creating a sanctuary of sorts, or hiring a farmer who could put up a damned scarecrow, at least? LOL


    • That may be a solution to one of their problems. The real problems are the coverup and deception. The fiction that large-scale technologies are ecologically friendly. That the technology is renewable, rather than the driver. That intermittent drivers can be converted to a reliable source of usable energy without buffering. That these technologies are suitable in all contexts. The coverup and deception has caused severe misalignments in technological and economic development.


    • Ste1hen Abbott

      Problem is, the birds are agile, mobile, and hostile. From a distance, the large mirror array looks like a lake, so it attracts birds from a long distance away, and from high altitudes. (Even a 200 foot high fence – “only” twice the height of the golf course nets you may see around driving ranges – is ridiculously expensive and useless against birds flying 800 feet up.) The birds WANT to get in and above the array, then will be flying low to try to “land” (or fish) near the “water” that they’ve aiming at for many minutes.
      And right above the array is where they will hit the invisible heat beams going towards the center tower. So, you can’t shield the towers, can’t fence the array.
      Must kill birds for CO2 savings to create very, very expensive electricity 9-12 hours a day. (The thing runs a little at night using molten salt, but only at reduced rates part-time.) Right?


      • The thing runs a little at night using molten salt
        ======================
        nope. that was the plan, but someone got the math wrong. turns out they need natural gas, lots of natural gas, to keep the plant in operation.

        which in the end makes perfect economic sense for the owners. what you have here is a solar assisted natural gas drive power plant, selling power to the grid at solar rates. the big loses are of course the public who are forced to pay higher prices for something they could get much cheaper if only the government would stop helping.


    • This metal screening would be opaque to birds, but optically transmissive to photons.

      Do you have in mind a design for such a screen ??

      g


  9. I wonder if mounting a cowling on top of the tower would help mitigate this. It would be cone shaped and extending out and down, such that the it doesn’t block the light reflected back from the mirrors to the collector, but extends down far enough such that it blocks birds flying at or above the collector height. The area closest to the collector is where the beams are most intense, so the cowling would not need to be so big as to significantly block the mirror array from the sun, though of course it would cast a shadow, so some reduction of efficiency would be expected.


    • The way Ivanpah is designed they have arranged for the sun to move around in the sky during the day, and with the present optical constraints, the shadows also move around, so just where do you put this screening cone, and how would you move it around ??

      The focused image of the sun would be around 12 feet in diameter plus the size of the mirrors which I think is about six meters on a side so something like a 30 foot diameter sphere.

      G


      • It would not move around, it would be fixed, like a Chinese straw hat. yes it would cast a shadow, as does the tower itself, but overall a very small percentage of the array would be impacted. It comes down to what % of efficiency loss are birds lives worth? If it was a nuclear plant, one dead bird would shut the whole place down!


      • I’m not at all concerned about a shadow cast by the tower, or by any conical screen to keep birds away.

        But every one of those mirrors is trying to send a solar beam back to that tower; at all times during the sunlit day, and they do so from a 360 degree circle completely surrounding the tower.

        So there is no shape for a screen that can keep birds away from the tower, and still allow full illumination by every one of the 37,000 mirrors or whatever the number is.

        If the optical design of the mirror array was in any way rational; that is designed by somebody skilled in non imaging optics, then it would not completely surround the tower in the first place. In that case, it would be possible to shield a good part of the tower from birds.

        In particular , the number of mirrors on the south side of the tower; that is the side where the sun lies, for 100 percent of the daylit hours, should be reduced.

        The appropriate number of mirrors on the south side of the tower is ZERO.

        In designing such an array, every single mirror needs to justify (economically and energy efficiency) its very existence. Each added mirror and its associated custom steering mechanics and computer hardware must generate its own energy payback number, or that mirror should not be added to the array.

        At least half of those mirrors cannot justify their own existence, on either energy output or economical grounds.

        G


      • george e. I agree with you, half the number of mirrors are needed in static set-up, can even a smaller array on tracks just not follow the sun from dawn to dusk? ( the mirrors could be even larger than the current size to be even more stronger and efficient?)


  10. No wonder why they don’t allow visitors at Ivanpah. 17 birds killed daily is a huge number for a desert eco-system.


  11. Once upon a time the greenies would chain themselves to anything that harmed defenceless birds and animals , any chance they could stand on their principles again .


  12. ” much of the surveillance was nighttime thermal and infrared imaging of birds and bats).” ??
    ….Of what use would “night time” images be ?? That is not when it is operating…


    • Well it cathes fire if you operate it with the sun shining, so they prefer to run it at night, and then switch over to natural gas at sunrise.

      G


  13. Utterly evil? Horrific? More likely, overwrought! Somebody needs to take a chill pill. All forms of power production and transmission have negative effects, including on birds. Power lines and my radiator grill have dispatched a number of my feathered friends right in front of me. (The most spectacular was a Canadian Goose that hit the high power lines behind my house. Yow!)
    As a skeptic of almost everything, including what I believe, I’m always amused by the hyperbolic certainty of some of those commenting..Oh, to be so sure in this murky world. I guess alarmists come in all flavors..
    Perfection is the enemy of good. Reducing risk is usually the most reasonable strategy. This is how new technologies develop. Someday when the oil, gas and coal are gone, the sun will still be shining. Let’s continue the transition. Our descendants will thank us.


    • Did the Canada goose that hit your local power line actually short across two phases or just go poof! from the impact? Birds can happily hang out on power lines all day.


      • They can hang out on one medium voltage power line. They don’t hang out on high voltage lines (corona discharge), they generally undergo a steam explosion if they contact two power lines.


      • Flocks of them use the pond in the park behind my house. Formations of them return from their exploits at twilight. Their honking and the descending “V” against the darkening sky is a real pleasure for us here in suburbia. The crap they leave everywhere, not so much. While this was the first death I experienced, other neighbors say it has happened a number of times. Apparently they weigh enough that when they hit the top wire in flight it bends it close enough to the next wire to cause an arc. It’s pretty spectacular in an automobile-race-crash kind of way. Fortunately, Canadian Geese here in the Bay Area are pest-numerous, many having abandoned their natural migrations due to out temperate climate and tasty grass.


    • ..How do power lines kill birds ?? Even if they did, how do you think the power from these bird fryers get to customers ?? Oh yea…POWER LINES …D’oh !


    • Well John we agree with you that all forms of power generation have negative effects.

      But this gizmo is not a form of power generation so it doesn’t get a free pass on negatives effects.

      G


    • John,
      Building “power plants” with negative a EROI does not help our descendants. To the contrary, it assures them a dark, cold future.


      • Paul,
        I remember one of the first digital watches. One of my co-workers at National Semiconductor in the early 70s proudly displayed it to us. He paid $250 for it. Within a decade they were giving them away at gas stations for a full tank of gas. Today’s expensive proto-types are tomorrow’s disposable, mass-produced commodities. That’s the way technology works. Competition and the drive to profit by lowering the cost through innovation are incredibly powerful forces. Complaining about the defects and downfalls of a technology can be useful in guiding their development. I welcome it, Thinking we won’t solve the problems and therefore must stick with the old ways is “buggy whip factory” thinking.
        I was a very early adopter of solar power at my offgrid mountain ranch.Having real-life experience with the technology I’ve often been critical of the puffery of advocates and “first adopters” in their economic analyses; online, in letters to the editor, and at cocktail parties. However, my confidence that this is an important part of our energy future is growing,.as many of its negatives are being dealt with.
        The horse transportation advocates in the early 1900s cursed the smoking, belching, noisy, dangerous and very expensive early autos. Yet these days, when I jump in my mean machine; fast, quiet, efficient, and powerful to drive wherever I want, whenever I want, I don’t worry much about the 35,000 unfortunates that died last year, except how I can not join them. Some day the internal combustion engine too will be thrown on the horse manure pile of history too. Our descendants will snicker at our quaintly troglodytic love affair with the technology of contained explosions of hydrocarbons. Someday I might be lucky enough to hear, “Is that really true, great-great-great-great grandpa? You blew up stuff to get around? Should I wipe the drool off your chin before you answer?”


      • John,
        The fundamental problem with solar power (besides indeterminacy) is that is is not a dense enough power source at the surface of the Earth. In order to get grid scale power from it you need to collect it over vast areas. No mater how you do it, that requires a lot of materials, and those take energy to produce, transport, and assemble. Not to mention the amount of energy required to maintain these massive structures. Like FTL, there is no technological solution even imagined that does not violate the known laws of physics. So until we discover a way to manufacture and maintain such huge structures at energy costs that are at least 10x less than currently possible, it doesn’t make sense to even attempt to build grid scale solar power plants, any more than FTL drives.


      • John, I’m very happy that you were an early adopter of Solar (PV ?) at your off grid mountain ranch.

        I’m also very happy for another acquaintance of mine who runs his off grid mountain ranch diesel tractor on used donut cooking fat that he gets from his local donut shop.

        I live in the heart of Apple’s Silicon Valley, and there aren’t enough donut shops in all of Silicon Valley (I think I know where every one is) to run say a diesel VW for each family in the valley.

        I’m less happy that My government raided MY bank account using their tax whip, to get free money to help with your purchase of your early off grid PV solar array. I’d be really cheering if you paid the full cost yourself.

        In a free country I like to think anyone can spend THEIR money on anything they choose that is not destructive to others. I would just like to have the same privilege myself, so I could spend MY money on things I would choose to do.

        Now Silicon valley sports a whole lot of PV solar arrays on mostly roofs erected specially for that as in parking areas. I’d like to think those were also paid for by those who claim to own them.

        Robbing Peter to satisfy Paul’s fetish for early adoption, is not how a free society works.

        I’ve spent 56 years helping to develop some of those things that make modern hi tech living economical and energy efficient.

        If you were designing and building LED devices and products prior to 1966, then you probably know a whole lot more about them than I do.

        A solar PV Expert (a real one) Professor at UC Berkeley, once observed: “To make an efficient solar cell, you first have to make an efficient LED . ” And he can explain why that is.

        I use the very same optical principles and methods in the design of efficient solid state lighting, as were earlier used for efficient Solar energy collection. (Both PV and thermal collection). I happen to know the chap who is the world’s leading authority on Non-imaging Optics (he virtually invented the whole subject and technology), and I don’t have the gall to even ask him for his thoughts on Ivanpah.

        He’s a very nice and mild mannered chap, not given to outburst of expletives; and I would hate to give him cause to change.

        So John; enjoy your early adopted inefficient solar array, but one thing you need to understand.

        MOORE’S LAW does not apply to Solar energy collection.

        The single biggest advance in semi-conductor technology under Moore’s Law comes from making devices with critical dimensions as small as 20 nm or so, so you can put billions of devices in your shirt pocket.

        Solar energy collectors are measured in terms of acres, not nano-meters.

        So don’t hold your breath while waiting for the little big breakthrough in solar energy gathering.

        G


  14. Camera angles is wot dunnit. If you’ll note, the majority of hits are to the background at 9:00-11:00 o’clock. The birds on the RHS of the video are fried before they can enter the frame. The critters being fried behind the tower that blocks the 2/3 of the frame can’t be seen. I did note one bird that flew into the foreground of the view (last segment was it?) but came from below. It skedaddled as soon as it neared the height of the concentrated solar rays.

    Anyhow, that’s how I’m calling it for the posted video.

    (N.B. They can’t put a camera on the tower in a better location because it would get fried. A better solution would be telephoto shots from the four sides of the tower with complete coverage of the ‘Colonel Sanders’ zone.


  15. How would you like this to pass over you while driving ??

    ..I guess No Lives Matter !

    [Not a bad idea. Until a car parks on either of the two rail lines on the road. Or an accident occurs. Better in the Tips Forum though. .mod]


    • Trucks trying to pass under too low bridges create havoc all the time. This is such an accident waiting to happen.

      Eugene WR Gallun


  16. Many of us have been aware of this for nearly a year….. as seen in other videos posted at “SaveTheEagles” etc. This $3.8 billion project was heavily supported by the Obama administration in addition to Google and the State of California. The conventional mirrors in use are semi-transparent for solar IR radiation, i.e., limited to 45% efficiency from the get go. The facility is too far north in latitude to work to the target design efficiency. Last time I drove by the hot solar towers were generating thermals which became dust devils and mild tornadoes dropping sand back on to the mirrors. As mentioned in the above article, the commercial aircraft pilots have issues with solar glare affecting their eyesight at times.
    Seems that the Google and Government appointed project managers for this job did not allow Bechtel to perform a proper FEED – Front-Eng Engineering Design study so as to gain a solid understanding of what would likely happen in accordance with the laws of physics etc. Moore’s law does not fit the bill here! 😉

    And more recently, due to a computer issue and/or the misalignment of mirrors at one of the three towers, the tower was partially incinerated including the electrical cables……. costing millions and setting back production by another year….

    Maybe politicians should stick to what they know and let the Engineer’s do their jobs without overbearing interference. I have also heard that other engineering firms bid extra high as a ways and means to avoid the problems and headaches of working under inexperienced project managers on a massive scope pilot project.


    • I wonder if the union workers who repair it have a stipulation in their contrac? No work during daylight hours, period.


  17. Can you imagine for a moment the media carry on if 6000+ birds were killed by an oil spill. The hand wringing and empathy would be overflowing, little oily carcasses would be laid out for the media, oil companies would be ranted at and sued. Sacrifice them to the CO2 God and? crickets ….


  18. Heaven help the nuclear plant that periodically ingests water foul (ask Crystal River retirees or DC Cook). Fines, reprimands, and a visit from your local environmental dogooder are swift. Take out a sea turtle and you’re into a whole new ballgame.


    • There are those who do things because they can and not what they should do. And there is a big difference between the two.


  19. Facts don’t matter. The “Greens” have decided that carbon-based energy is evil. Non-carbon energy is good! (no matter the cost in treasure, or wildlife).


    • Apparently there is no “non-carbon energy” here. Smoking birds are rich source of carbon by-product from the operation of the plant.


  20. The government is now a lawless preditor upon us all, buying us off with our own money and near-infinite debt we are forced to service.


  21. I haven’t posted this poem since my previous (stolen) identity days.

    SUSTAINABLE REALITY

    If you like your energy sustainable,
    You must first make the climate trainable.
    With sun day and night,
    And the wind always right…
    I think it just might be attainable!

    Solar and wind are renewable,
    But only on small scales prove doable
    They kill birds and bats
    And displace habitats…
    Conservationists find them eschew-able.

    We would, likely, employ keener vision
    Funding hydro and nuclear fission.
    (The molten salt kind,
    For our peace of mind)
    With CME-proofed grids of transmission.

    Electricity, for the third world poor
    Will unlock the virtual door…
    To an affluent life,
    A job and a wife
    With less children than folks raised before.

    So, curtailing overpopulation
    Is not about “limiting nations
    On what they can do
    Which emits CO2”…
    It relies on industrialization!


    • Pop Piasa —

      Speaking as a fellow poet — what’s not to like. Highly readable and amusing. Great rhyme and rhythm. Coherent and accurate throughout.

      Eugene WR Gallun


      • Thanks, Mr. Gallun. I really enjoy your pennings of poetry also. You compliment was exceedingly generous.


      • I hereby give it to the public domain. My gain is intrinsic. I wish I could think of a tune that doesn’t sound like “Mr. Rogers” wrote it.


  22. USGS = United States Geological Service. Why are they counting dead bird? Are they familiar with the definition of “rock” or has that slipped their tiny minds? Perhaps a report authored by a more appropriate agency – such as the EPA – would have produced a much more unpleasantl reaction.


  23. A movie plot.

    Come to think of it — here is a plot for a movie — Terrorist take over the facility and use the array to burn planes and missiles out of the sky and incinerates troops on the ground. The solution? The sky is seeded to create a stormy cloudy day and the troops are sent in. To add tension before the end, the sky begins to clear. Hollywood hear my cry!!!!

    Eugene WR Gallun


    • probono —

      You mean fewer birds left to kill so the kill numbers look better? The desert does not replenish itself quickly.

      Eugene WR Gallun


  24. Can anyone comment on the effect on birds due to the heat bloom that must be created above the tower given the high temps being generated?

    dryscottdalegmailcom August 3, 2016 at 4:26 pm mentions “the hot solar towers were generating thermals which became dust devils and mild tornadoes dropping sand back on to the mirrors.” as one effect but is there any effect to birds in transiting through far hotter than normal air temperatures?


    • Driving along the freeway beside the facility when it’s going full bore, you can feel the radiant heat, even with windows up and air con going.


  25. I remember using log tables at school. Now it’s hey Siri what’s the square root of…. etc


  26. The Greens still drag out references to the Exxon Valdez incident, which like other unfortunate occurrences, happened only once. Ivanpah and similar installations just keep on killing.
    Then there are the tens of thousands of wind generators all over the place.


  27. The video is impressive, but I’ll have to pass on the product. I can get a cheaper bug zapper at Walmart. 🙂


    • Really? You really think that birds were only being killed when the system was in the “standby” configuration? You really think that the birds can only be killed/injured at the exact focal point of all the mirrors? So it’s completely safe when in the “production” configuration? Even you can’t be that stupid.


  28. If this were in Kentucky…..

    Dreadful situation as with the bird munching wind turbines. “Environmentalism”sucks.


    • Outside of Altamont Pass and similar old designed turbines, I dispute that there is any problem with wind turbines, where any planning consideration has been given to birds.

      In the UK there are not thousands or even hundreds of bird deaths.


  29. On this video, if it is smoking and falling, it can hardly be an insect. An insect would not have enough mass to fall like that, so all these falling smokers must be the size of birds.


    • “To be fair it has to be compared to the death rate of 7500 people who annually dies of particulates from coal-fired power plants.”

      To actually be FAIR about any risk factor you have to be HONEST about comparing ALL of the risk factors involved. Say that one in a million (I’m guessing, I couldn’t find a number) die from an allergic reaction to whooping cough vaccine compared to about 10,000 in a million who will die if they contract whooping cough.

      Tell me that you would apply your coal death “logic” when faced with vaccinating your child against whooping cough?

      And when would these 7500 people have died without coal? An hour later? A year later? Or … 20 to 40 years SOONER? In fact the use of coal to produce electricity for the masses has profoundly increased life expectancy but you would rather to live in your fantasy world pretending that that fact is somehow irrelevant to the discussion. It is not, you are wrong, fossil fuel is the best thing that ever happened to human civilization and you will be unable to scratch the surface of the benefits with your silly “7500 people died” claim.

      To prove that point consider this http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/weather/11382808/Winter-death-toll-to-exceed-40000.html

      Why are more pensioners dying in the winter? Point blank, it is because of people like you who are increasing the cost of energy. For many elderly on a fixed income your “green” policies have increased energy cost to the point that some now have the choice whether to eat or keep warm. Your “ideas” about “saving” 7500 people are killing MILLIONS of poor people around the world as well as bringing many more people closer to poverty.

      Face it – your hoax is killing people.

      To further illustrate just how specious your 7500 claim is consider that Drax power station is now burning wood pellets instead of coal. How’s THAT working out in terms of particulate emissions hmmm?

      Wood is as bad or WORSE than coal. http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Biomass-Air-Pollution-Briefing.pdf

      And your silly ideas are decimating forest land, eliminating the very natural resource that you people claim to be so concerned about – trees.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2581887/The-bonfire-insanity-Woodland-shipped-3-800-miles-burned-Drax-power-station-It-belches-CO2-coal-huge-cost-YOU-pay-cleaner-greener-Britain.html


      • Firstly, why do you think the people who die of particulates would die soon anyway? Most of the deaths from particulates are lung cancer, and that usually robs several decades from a person’s lifespan.
        Moreover, most the IQ reduction caused by mercury comes from the poisoning of the unborn children in the mother’s womb, and affect a person though the entire life.

        You seems to think I am an extreme environmentalist, but I am not. I agree in most of your arguments. Power production, industrialism and modern life is good. I think people who hates all this have hijacked the label environmentalism. I agree that in some cases the environmentalism costs many lives. The resistance to the use of golden rice is just one example.

        However, you do not need to be an idiot to think that we should work for de-carbonizing the power production in the end. France did so thirty years ago and it works very well. They use nuclear and I think that is a great choice, just as good as any other non-polluting sources.

        This article was about the environmental costs of solar power and I think it is fair to compare it to the negative effects of the most polluting power source we still use.

        /Jan


      • Yes, and the clear cutting in U.S. forest lands to ship wood pellets to the UK boilers makes about as much sense as the marketed hype of imported Icelandic water to the U.S. during the peak of the bottled water marketing era.


    • Jan why do we have to de-carbonize our power generation? The additional CO2 we get from cheap fossil fueled power generation is improving farm yields and the inexpensive generated power is improving our lives. What more can you want?


      • Matt,
        as you know many people around believe that the elevated CO2 level leads to ocean acidification, rising temperatures, melting glaciers and rising oceans. And they are of course right, the debate is about how much the oceans acidify, how much the temperatures rise and how much the glaciers melt and the oceans rise.

        It is about whether it is negligible or cause real damage right now. Only the most uninformed deny that CO2 is a climate gas and that CO2 dissolved in water reduce the PH Level.

        Anyway, I think the most worrying thing is that the CO2 level continues to rise by 2 ppm annually. We are now at 400 ppm, the highest level in approximately 800 000 years and it continues to rise.

        India may copy Chinas economic success in the next decades and may add just as much carbon to the atmosphere as China do now. This means that eventually the CO2 level will be so high that it causes real concern.

        Therefore, we should start to de-carbonize now.

        /Jan


      • Sorry you are wrong. I have kept both reef and tropical fish tanks and there is no amount of CO2 we could produce by burning all of the known fossil fuels could effect the ocean enough to matter. Do a little reading about buffering and how it effects the ocean.


      • Jan Kjetil Andersen:

        * ocean “acidification” – CO2 has been much higher in earth’s past – back when many ocean creatures were evolving. If ocean pH is anything today it is too alkaline, reduction of ocean alkalinity reduces stress on most ocean organisms. The added CO2 also benefits aquatic plant life. 60 MYA ocean pH was ~7.5 and CO2 was ~1000 … we didn’t do that! https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Pearson_and_Palmer_2000_fig1.jpg

        * rising temperatures – compared to the last 500 million years earth’s temperature is about ~6 degrees below average. There also appears to be a hard limit to global temperature, about 15 degrees higher than present. (I suspect that water vapor plays some yet unknown dramatic role in that.) And where do most of earth’s species live? In hot humid rain forests or on top of ice caps?

        * melting glaciers – So what? Forests will grow in their place just like they did before.

        * rising oceans – If any aspect of alarmism can be labeled as an irrational fear – it is sea level rise. Sea level has been rising for hundreds of years coming out of the LIA. It is not accelerating because snow fall has increased at high altitudes such as on Greenland and Antarctica. There is simply no threat! After the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 they raised the entire city 17 feet. 2/3 of Boston didn’t exist 300 years ago – it’s all fill taken from Beacon Hill and Needham. We’re talking under 4mm per year, do you realize how slow that is? The cure for sea level rise is not depriving the third world from exploiting their resources to become economically independent the way we exploited ours – the cure is a building code.

        * “CO2 level will be so high that it causes real concern” Gee, maybe when it hits 1000 (what most plants really like) and deserts are swamp land again we’ll look back and wonder what people were so “really” concerned about?

        The only thing I fear is what happens to humanity when (if?) we start slipping back into another ice age. Then you really will see mass migrations – heading toward the equator. IMO, if burning FF could possibly introduce enough CO2 to prevent another ice age – that is what we actually should be doing to insure our future, not quibbling over immensely exaggerated alarmist talking points.


      • Matt says:

        Do a little reading about buffering and how it effects the ocean

        In all due respect, Matt, this is nonsense. If it were that easy to falsify the theory of ocean acidification, we would not have a debate about it. I am only saying what most of the scientific community says. You have select your reading carefully to find support for the claim that there is no reason at all to worry about ocean acidification.
        /Jan


      • I am basing my position on 30 years of experimentation on how to grow coral in an ocean environment. Your statement shows that you do not even have a basic understanding of how CO2 is essential to the formation of coral and it’s ability to use calcium to form itself. Please do a little more reading on the processes needed to form coral in the ocean environment. In my fresh water tank the PH varies between 7.6 at night to 6.5 during the day with the lights on as I add CO2 to the tank for plant growth. The tank goes through this every day and all of the tanks inhabitants including shellfish and snails are healthy and growing well. I remove approximately 2lbs of excess plant material from the tank every week to keep the growth under control.


      • Mike
        The life forms that lived 50 million years ago were used to a level of 1000 ppm. The life forms we have now have for the last 800 000 years lived with a CO2 level below 300 ppm, and we are now more than 30% above that, and the level is increasing rapidly.

        In my view, you only need some common sense to realize that this is a highly disturbing development.

        /Jan


      • We are not increasing the amount of CO2 by any great amount. CO2 is a trace gas that is o.o4% of the atmosphere. In my lifetime the level has risen from 0.034% to 0.04%. While this may be a 30% increase it shows that a 30% increase in a trace gas means it is still a trace gas. Greenhouses still increase the CO2 level to promote plant growth this shows us that most plants in the world would like the higher CO2 levels and the over 8% increase in plant growth worldwide since we added CO2 to the atmosphere is the proof


      • Matt,
        Thank you for sharing some of your insights from your experimentation in growing corals. It was very interesting to hear about your fresh water tank.

        Do you add similar amounts of CO2 in your seawater tank, and how is eventually the PH reaction there?

        /Jan


  30. For every bird counted as “smoking” or falling near the facility there could be 100’s to 1000’s that may not appear to have suffered any noticeable injury – but are nonetheless compromised by damage to their flight feathers and or eyesight.

    They will die too maybe a day or two later miles from the facility and not be counted. They will be on the ground unable to fly because they are out of energy due to the extra effort of flying and or not being able to spot food having been partially blinded.

    A lot more serious investigation needs to be done to assess the true death toll brought by lesser injuries. (For example a scorched flight feather investigation would seem possible by trailing some feathers behind an R/C airplane flown at various trajectories through the light field that are far enough away from the center to preclude burning but yet hot enough to cause deformation. )

    The only abundant natural substance that reflects the sky over a large area is WATER. That is what these birds believe they are seeing from many miles away exactly where their ancestors actually did see water a long time ago – it’s a LAKE BED. So they are coming there for the water. Water guarantees that other life will be there including whatever these birds eat.

    http://image.sbsun.com/storyimage/LG/20141118/NEWS/141119357/EP/1/1/EP-141119357.jpg&maxh=400&maxw=667


  31. It might bring attention if some snail darters were catapulted into the flux. And since they are just relying on video, why not catapult some stuffed animals also, like maybe polar bears, grey wolves, grizzlies, Florida alligators and other protected species.


    • Yeah, they’ll take draconian measures to protect a tiny sub species of smelt that is already functionally extinct anyway yet turn a blind eye to protected species like eagles being slaughtered by wind turbines.


  32. Fewer than 15 “dont matter” birds died during 8% of the year. What % of the operational time I wonder ?


  33. I use use my old slide rule on the sailboat by hanging it from the rigging to scare away sh*t spreading flying vermin.

    I think it would also come in handy to smack bird whiner up side the head. I know idiots that make up silly reasons to be against something have something in common. All are idiots who have never producing something.

    Engineering is a collaborative effort. Life is an open book test. Perfect is the enemy of good. Models have to be verified. Does the design work as intended?

    I had the second HP 35 on campus. My sister worked at HP.


    • Chernobyl was a collaborative engineering effort and it worked as intended too … for a while.


      • Don’t you mean… Until they purposely bypassed the safety systems causing the plant to blow up.


      • Matt – “Don’t you mean… Until they purposely bypassed the safety systems” Well yeah, it seems that they all had tunnel vision manually pulling out the control rods trying to jockey the reactor power back up because they were determined to salvage a damn test that could have just as well been abandoned and tried again later.


    • If they ban fracking, what will they use? Instead of being gas plants, as Robert Kennedy Jr has said, they might have to become diesel plants.


  34. Industrial scale examples of failed energy policies litter the landscape and define another form of blight. But wait, that will only lead to a grant program of blight recovery with some of the same questionable policies, insiders, and contracting as before. It would be better to relabel them ACA service centers and tout their job creation.


  35. I believe we’ve found our new missile defense system. Workers were seen running around at lunch time under the tower catching the larger birds for a free roasted lunch


  36. My wife and I were driving up Interstate 15 between El Lay and Lost Wages last year and we saw this surreal solar collector. It is bizarre. This is what is burning insects, the birds that need them for food, etc., etc., all up and down the food chain. And the neatest thing of all is that right there on the freeway is an exit sign for SEARCHLIGHT. That is where Senator Harry Reid comes from. It was just weird.
    As a side note, I have my old K&E from my days at MIT from 1959-64. I love WATTSUPWITHTHAT.


    • As far as I know K&E were the only ones to make a slide rule that was laterally flexible, so you pinch it with your fingers on the back of it to crack open the channel for easy slipping, and very precise positioning, and then let it snap back to the firm non slip position.
      The cheap plastic slide rules were a royal pain to use, as the slider either fell out or you couldn’t move it at all.

      G


      • george e. smith

        As far as I know K&E were the only ones to make a slide rule that was laterally flexible, so you pinch it with your fingers on the back of it to crack open the channel for easy slipping, and very precise positioning, and then let it snap back to the firm non slip position.
        The cheap plastic slide rules were a royal pain to use, as the slider either fell out or you couldn’t move it at all.

        Pickett made a aluminum version called the Texas Speed Rule for the slide rule competitors in the Texas High Schools in the 1950’s though the late 1980’s. (I competed in 1972-1974). The two fixed aluminum bars were flexible like you pointed out, and they were mounted with screws to adjust the position and the flex of the gap between the bars and the slide. To avoid the “”pain” of banging the slide back and forth through several hours of practice daily and the 30 minute weekend competitions, most fast users (the serious ones getting trophies and scholarships) rounded off the corners and tips with a file or grinder.
        It didn’t have many scales, since most of the work was on the front side with the A, B, C, C1, D and D1 scales (squares, cubes, 4x, 6th, etc, square roots, cube roots, 4th’s etc being very common)

        . The one sample test paper I have seen had 75 questions. It started with easy ones but got more and more difficult. I give below three samples:
        1024-texas-01.gif (461 bytes)
        1024-texas-02.gif (1251 bytes)
        1024-texas-03.gif (2210 bytes)
        from http://www.sliderules.info/collection/10inch/020/1024-texas.htm


  37. The funny thing is, when a orbital solar plant with the energy transmitted by microwaves was proposed, it was the Greens that objected on the grounds that birds would be incinerated. Guess the bribe asn’t big enough.


    • Yes, it is extortion. The green mafia only extort big companies, and this one is not big enough and it does not make money, it works with subsides. “Big green” only extort profitable companies, Green is not about the environment, it is about the money. Big oil has money, so they extort it.

      Same happens with Volkswagen, it has money so they go after them. Thunderstorms produce the same chemicals as diesel cars, (ozone and nitrogen oxides) and in much higher quantities, but you cannot extort nature.


    • “The funny thing is, when a orbital solar plant with the energy transmitted by microwaves was proposed, it was the Greens that objected on the grounds that birds would be incinerated.”

      No birds would be harmed by the microwaves.

      Where are the wildlife environmental groups on this Ivanpah horror? Where’s PETA?

      Where is a Green or an Alarmist who will defend this slaughter?

      Someone ought to ask these people publicly what they think about this destruction.

      Any Greens or Alarmists reading this thread want to defend the destruction these solar powerplants and windmills cause? Would love to hear your justifications for why millions of birds and other creatures are being killed annually in order to supply us with electricity, when there are better alternatives available, that don’t kill wildlife wholesale.

      It’s not “tens of thousands” of birds being killed, it is “millions” of birds being killed annually, with more to come in the future if we do not change direction and get our energy from somewhere else.

      The Greens and Alarmists cannot defend this practice. That’s why you won’t hear a peep out of them on this topic.


      • show me some figures on wind turbine bird kills… it clearly isn’t the level of eagle deaths alleged, because I checked and at the rate given the eagles population of the US has been already wiped out, several times…


      • Here are a couple of links, Griff.

        http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/new/us-windfarms-kill-10-20-times-more-than-previously-thought.html

        http://www.audubon.org/news/will-wind-turbines-ever-be-safe-birds

        I posted a link to an article here on WUWT a few weeks ago claiming over 700,000 bird deaths by windmill. I can’t seem to find it now.

        I thought it a little strange when I went to the Birdwatchers.co website and did a search on windmills and got nothing. I guess they don’t connect windmills with birds.

        The “love affair” with windmills should be over. They are unnecessarily harming the Earth’s wildlife.

        [In their defense, no bird has more than a very short, fleetingly small contact with a windmill. In fact, in the latest survey, 97% of all government birds who responded said they never had contact any contact with a windmill before. .mod]


  38. http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/proceeding/aipcp/10.1063/1.4949164

    This paper reviews past and current avian mortality studies at concentrating solar power (CSP) plants and facilities including Solar One in California, the Solar Energy Development Center in Israel, Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California, Crescent Dunes in Nevada, and Gemasolar in Spain. Findings indicate that the leading causes of bird deaths at CSP plants are from collisions (primarily with reflective surfaces; i.e., heliostats) and singeing caused by concentrated solar flux. Safe irradiance levels for birds have been reported to range between 4 and 50 kW/m2. Above these levels, singeing and irreversible damage to the feathers can occur. Despite observations of large numbers of “streamers” in concentrated flux regions and reports that suggest these streamers indicate complete vaporization of birds, analyses in this paper show that complete vaporization of birds is highly improbable, and the observed streamers are likely due to insects flying into the concentrated flux. The levelized avian mortality rate during the first year of operation at Ivanpah was estimated to be 0.7 – 3.5 fatalities per GWh, which is less than the levelized avian mortality reported for fossil fuel plants but greater than that for nuclear and wind power plants. Mitigation measures include acoustic, visual, tactile, and chemosensory deterrents to keep birds away from the plant, and heliostat aiming strategies that reduce the solar flux during standby.


  39. I knew it…..now, enviromentally-friendly solar power generation is no-longer enviromentally-friendly. So, now solar power joins coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear. I can wait to see how much it pollutes the air!

    This proves beyond any doubt that environmentalism is only bullshit. Or at least insider trading. Whatever comes along next, it will be touted as environmental utopea, all of someone’s stocks in solar will be sold to buy as much as possible of the new creation. Just wait and watch.


  40. Ivanpah is a weapon of mass destruction inspired by Archimedes and Tesla Death Rays. The two archetypes of mad scientists. Ivanpah builders hear voices in their head – burn birds burn!!


  41. Griff, here’s the link I was trying to find on bird deaths

    http://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/blog/2013/07/17/new-study-estimates-573000-birds-died-at-wind-farms-last-year/

    When I saw this headline a few months ago, I was shocked. I had no idea the bird deaths were of this magnitude. Before I read that article, my only problems with windmills were that they were a blight on the landscape and were too expensive compared to other generating methods.

    But after reading that news, I am totally against windmills. I think new ones should be banned and those already built should be torn down.

    I don’t think many people in the world realize what these windmills are doing to our wildlife. I think, they, like me, would be outraged at the numbers of deaths these machines are causing.

    If the people were made aware of this horror, I don’t think windmills would have a chance of going forward. Such a stupid tragedy. These guys thought they were so smart, and look at what they have done.

    Time for a new direction. Time for people to wake up and see what is really going on around them. Their leaders are leading them astray.


  42. I’m stunning about all these strange comments on bird deaths primarily focussing on wind turbines and – through this post – even attacking a solar farm. Wow!

    Of course: animal death caused by humans never is a good thing (think for example of what we daily eat, veg(etari)ans of course excepted.

    But concerning birds, here is a chart showing their killing’s major causes in the USA and in Canada, found on a french site but manifestly originating from Northern America:

    Maybe we all think a bit about that?


      • (USA)
        234K birds/ ~50K wind turbines = 4.68 per wind turbine (sounds awfully low to me)
        200M birds / 260M vehicles = 0.77 per vehicle (sounds kinda high, I collided with one goldfinch 10 years ago)

        The report is from Cornell funded by http://www.nabci-us.org whose committee memberships include the National Audubon Society (who is thoroughly in the bag for CAGW given their silence on biofuel deforestation) as well as several politically motivated government bureaucracies/depts.

        National Audubon: “Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report, published in September 2014, confirmed that climate change is the single greatest threat to North American birds. Seven years in the making, the report warns that 314 North American bird species could lose more than half of their current ranges by 2080 due to rising temperatures. ”

        If coal had never been mined we would still be burning wood and US forests would have NEVER recovered! Then how many birds species would have been lost?


      • The Original Mike M on August 7, 2016 at 6:16 am

        234K birds/ ~50K wind turbines = 4.68 per wind turbine (sounds awfully low to me)
        sounds kinda high, I collided with one goldfinch 10 years ago

        Typical language here, whatever the thread is about: this is a skeptics site, and it shows.
        Frenchies love to say « Le sceptique doute de tout et donc ne se doute de rien. »
        If you can’t manage to understand, Google’s trad helps.

        France’s EPA (a land dominated ad nauseam by the nuclear industry) informs us that in Europe, the bird mortality rate per turbine/year is between 0.4 and 1.2…

        And I tell you that we lose every year about five joung birds due to the extreme reflection of today’s windows, they die while thinking they’re flying in the landscape.

        If coal had never been mined…

        Nobody’s talking about coal here. Why do you?
        Please keep on visible facts, Original…

        How many insects and birds, do you think, die everywhere due to agricultural chemicals?
        Why, do you think, is there exactly one number missing in the chart?


      • Bindidon August 7, 2016 at 4:57 am

        I’m stunning [sic] about all these strange comments on bird deaths primarily focussing on wind turbines and – through this post – even attacking a solar farm. Wow!

        1) So your argument would be that we shouldn’t try to find a cure for or even be concerned about the rare genetic disease that killed someone’s parents and threatens their children, simply because most humans die from other causes?

        Because that is assuredly the claim you are making regarding birds. It’s some strange variety of the “tu quoque” argument, and it makes no sense. The fact that there are larger threats should never prevent us from being concerned about smaller threats, that’s magical thinking.

        2) A number of these birds are endangered or highly protected. If I kill a golden eagle I GO TO JAIL. If a windfarm kills a dozen, it’s no big deal. In Canada, Syncrude had to pay $18,000 PER DUCK for killing plain old ducks … but then, they are an oil company and not a wind farm.

        Given that court-established bird value, and your figures from your graph, that means that wind farms are killing $4.3 billion dollars worth of birds PER FREAKIN’ YEAR, and that’s throwing in the hundreds of thousands of bats for free… and you find it strange that folks are concerned?

        3) A large part of the outrage is from the obvious hypocrisy of people who claim to be hard-core green nature lovers turning their heads away from the bird deaths. It appears that you have turned your head away from this aspect of the discussion as well …

        4) Your graph is comparing apples and oranges. What you need to do is to look at the number of golden eagle and bat deaths caused by other power sources … for example, how many birds die per year from the nuclear power that many of the greens seem to hate?

        Regards,

        w.


      • Willis said: “A large part of the outrage is from the obvious hypocrisy of people who claim to be hard-core green nature lovers turning their heads away from the bird deaths. It appears that you have turned your head away from this aspect of the discussion as well …”

        I’ve always thought that was a cheap straw man argument. To state that greenies are hypocrites because they don’t want to shut down this plant is to assume that they don’t understand the trade off and think it’s worth it. No form of large scale power generation is free of consequences. I understand this, and I don’t like birds being killed, but I also understand the consequences of our other power generation systems. To simply reduce the situation to “if they really cared about the environment they’d be against anything that harms birds” is to completely omit the reasons many greenies think the trade off is worth it.


      • Lol, just noticed this too:

        “Given that court-established bird value, and your figures from your graph, that means that wind farms are killing $4.3 billion dollars worth of birds PER FREAKIN’ YEAR,”

        The court didn’t establish that as the value of the bird. The value of the penalty isn’t the same thing as the value of the object. If I shoot your cow and the court fines me $20,000 for what i did, that doesn’t make your cow worth $20,000.


    • Willis Eschenbach on August 7, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks Willis for your response: I always appreciate your reactions.

      [0] I apologize for a sometimes poor english: german and french are my every day’s languages. Sometimes I check for correctness using… Google. { Focussing or focusing? }

      [1,2,3] I understand your reaction, but I’m the wrong target for it. Please read my comment located just above yours. Do you really think I’m the person you suppose me to be?

      – Would I care about a few birds dying every year at the house we rent just because the house’s owner replaced old windows by new ones causing in the sum, solely for Germany, the death of probably many 100,000’s of birds per year?
      – Would I spend over 100 $ per year for bird nutrition during the winter, where really rare species regularly visit us?

      It is evident that you’re right when you write:
      The fact that there are larger threats should never prevent us from being concerned about smaller threats…

      [4a] Apart from some illuminated persons, I don’t think that these greens hate nuclear power. They are rather afraid of all that waste produced during the plants’ lifetime, temporarily stored without treatment all around the world. (Especially in countries like Germany: we are here 80 millions living on 350,000 km².)

      [4b] Let us, as you propose, come back to apples vs. apples, and restrict the comparison to the different kinds of electricity production.

      You are partly right: a nuclear plant indeed causes, if we restrict examination to the plant’s reactor, certainly much less damage than a coal burning plant or a wind farm of equivalent power.

      [4c] But nuclear plants inevitably and continually produce relevant quantities of tritium, a radioactive beta particle producer, which at high temperatures is so incredibly volatile that it even bypasses steel containers. This nice guy is suspected to be the origin of the elevated rate of child cancer around nearly all nuclear plants in Germany, but a proof is nearly impossible.

      [4d] Nuclear plants are thermic plants like all those burning fossile stuff. You certainly know that for every produced GWhel, about 3.3 GWhth are generated aside, what requests cooling by towers of river water.

      Do we know, Willis, how many birds and fishes suffer and die around each thermic plant, due to either cooling technique?

      [4e] You certainly know that every installed GW of nuclear power consumes about 30 tons of 3.5%-enriched uranium. Each ton of that needs 6.5 tons of 0.7%-refined material, and again each ton of the latter needs extraction and refinement of about 2,000 tons of the bare mining stuff, together with incredible amounts of brute force chemicals and lots of water.

      Thus one single 1 GW plant generates at mining place roughly spoken 400,000 tons of mining garbage plus chemicals plus water. All that is left on the ground in so called tailings – without any treatment.

      How many animals (and humans) do sufffer from that over the long term, in your opinion?

      [4f] And now we come, by analogy, to what in my opinion is the wind farms’ real bird killer: the engineering of wind turbines with permanent magnets based on neodyme and dysprosium, sold by China at dumping prices at the cost of immense environmental diseases!


      • Ooops! I forgot to insert the closing §…

        So yes Willis, we can very well compare apples with apples, but we then have to consider their surrounding trees as well.

        But all in all I prefer to consider them together with the oranges and the plums etc… That goes beyond a thread conveniently reducing the problem to energy sources, OK, but…


      • A little addendum:

        [4e] You certainly know that every installed GW of nuclear power consumes about 30 tons of 3.5%-enriched uranium (per year).


    • So Bindidion, because deaths in traffic accidents are orders of magnitude more than those due to serial killers, in your opinion we should ignore serial killers?


      • This pseudonym I saw many times at WUWT. All the time in front of rather poor comments, just like this one, which I would even describe as simple-minded, sorry.

        What about first reading Willis Eschenbach’s comment and my answer to it?


      • Bindidon August 9, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        What about first reading Willis Eschenbach’s comment and my answer to it?

        How about you leaving me out of it and just answering catweazle666’s question? I notice that with all of your fine and fancy footwork and misdirection, you dodged his question completely …

        w.


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