Emerging solar plants scorch birds in mid-air


#1

From the AP:
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.

(snip)

The bird kills mark the latest instance in which the quest for clean energy sometimes has inadvertent environmental harm. Solar farms have been criticized for their impacts on desert tortoises, and wind farms have killed birds, including numerous raptors.

Of course, we must remember this from last year:

“The meeting was another opportunity for us to voice our continued concerns with the proposal,” said Courtney Sexton, a spokeswoman with Defenders of Wildlife, in an email to The Hill.

In addition to Defenders of Wildlife, officials from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Audubon Society and National Wildlife Federation attended the Aug. 28 meeting.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of birds are killed when they fly into wind turbines. It’s unclear how many of them are bald and golden eagles, which are protected by federal law, but the Fish and Wildlife Service gives permits to projects with conservation plans that are nonetheless expected to unintentionally kill a small number of the eagles.

I guess you can’t make an omelette unless you break a few eggs (or fry or dice and slice a few eagles).

:banghead:


#2

Biodiversity is taking a back seat to all this man-made “climate change” nonsense.

When it comes to wind turbines, an artificial wind tunnel is created that can interfere with the cardio-pulmonary system of some bats (I would say birds are susceptible, too). So they don’t even have to make contact with the blades to die.

Solar panel establishment has also been a problem for the desert tortoise in the American Southwest. They tried to relocate a large number of this endangered specie, but nearly half died in captivity.

Think they’d let them be moved to drill for oil? :ehh:

There’s a whole ton of issues with alternative energy that people don’t seem to know about, or the left-wing ideology is so important they are blind to the truth.


#3

Any large-scale technology is going to affect biological life in some way. Even the presence of our cities and roads does that.

But biological life adapts as it always has.

Unless we revert to living as vegan hominids, our human life will always have an ecological footprint, just as our somas make physical footprints. It’s as old as fire. Get used to it, IMNAAHO.

ICXC NIKA


#4

This has nothing to do with the “left-wing ideology.” Every single thing we do as humans impacts the environment. Oil spills kill fish and birds, and all other matters of sea life. Mining for coal destroys whole habitats. No matter what we do to provide ourselves with energy we will impact the environment. That is what this is about.

And in the end all of the back and forth about the specific use of different energy sources usually comes down to who is going to make the biggest profit off the masses. If the everyday people were smart they would start creating their own “stand alone” energy source systems and take themselves clear of the profit mongers grid.


#5

Like Germany, right?

From Der Spiegel:

Germany’s Energy Poverty: How Electricity Became a Luxury Good

If you want to do something big, you have to start small. That’s something German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier knows all too well. The politician, a member of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has put together a manual of practical tips on how everyone can make small, everyday contributions to the shift away from nuclear power and toward green energy. The so-called Energiewende, or energy revolution, is Chancellor Angela Merkel’s project of the century.

“Join in and start today,” Altmaier writes in the introduction. He then turns to such everyday activities as baking and cooking. “Avoid preheating and utilize residual heat,” Altmaier advises. TV viewers can also save a lot of electricity, albeit at the expense of picture quality. “For instance, you can reduce brightness and contrast,” his booklet suggests.
Altmaier and others are on a mission to help people save money on their electricity bills, because they’re about to receive some bad news. The government predicts that the renewable energy surcharge added to every consumer’s electricity bill will increase from 5.3 cents today to between 6.2 and 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour – a 20-percent price hike.

German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe. But because the government is failing to get the costs of its new energy policy under control, rising prices are already on the horizon. Electricity is becoming a luxury good in Germany, and one of the country’s most important future-oriented projects is acutely at risk.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan two and a half years ago, Merkel quickly decided to begin phasing out nuclear power and lead the country into the age of wind and solar. But now many Germans are realizing the coalition government of Merkel’s CDU and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) is unable to cope with this shift. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the public has any more confidence in a potential alliance of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens. The political world is wedged between the green-energy lobby, masquerading as saviors of the world, and the established electric utilities, with their dire warnings of chaotic supply problems and job losses.

Don’t get me wrong: I agree with you, in principle, that we should all try to improve our self-sufficiency and get, as much as is possible, off the grid using resources that we have available and under our control (whether those resources include harnessing water flowing through our property, wind on our property, or the sun that falls on our property).

But we should definitely learn from Germany.


#6

My thoughts exactly. A few birds vs. entire forests. I’m not a scientist but I think I can guess which is more damaging:


#7

Birds have it really bad these days no matter what, esp as climate change is expected in worst-case scenario to make up to 30% of land birds species go extinct by 2100 (worldwatch.org/node/5546 ), and many more in the ensuing centuries.

Large-scale wind and solar farms are a problem for birds, some endangered species – and this problem will continue to grow as more of these are built – but other problems (cats and human-caused) are orders of magnitude greater contributors to bird deaths:

http://www.bloomberg.com/image/i1ffcYO5Vsdw.jpg
See: climatecrocks.com/2014/04/24/wind-turbines-hardly-rank-as-bird-threat/

There are things being developed to reduce wind-generator bird deaths, also better site planning, and I’m sure they’ll look into something to reduce bird deaths from big solar farms, as well. These are fairly new technologies, but once we put on our thinking caps, we should be able to reduce the harms.

So far the solar panels on our home have not caused any bird deaths (we have found no bird bodies around our yard), and the birds still come into our yard, and sit on the highest peak of our roof, above the solar panels. There is also a benefit from people having their own solar panels – it sort of weans us from the grid and the control of the powers that be a bit. I would favor decentralized power generation to some extent, which I think would cause less harm to nature.

Aside from birds harmed by large centralized alt power generation (you can add fish harmed by large hydro-electric operations) we should also be concerned about the people harmed by fossil fuel extraction, processing, combustion, and disposal of toxic wastes, not to mention the harms to people from global warming, which is increasing and enhancing droughts, floods, storms, wildfires, disease spread, sea rise. And these are also harming a lot of God’s creatures. GW is harming our food productivity in many parts of the world, and is expected to harm it in nearly all parts by century’s end, with the situation getting more dire in ensuing centuries if we fail to mitigate this problem – mainly by energy/resource efficiency/conservation, Reduce-Reuse-Recycle, and also by alt energy.

I do hope they find solutions to help reduce the bird killings; maybe some better planning, different approaches/tech, and/or siting. I know here in the RGV, they use sound to repel nuisance birds, but that doesn’t seem to be a solution to such a large solar operation.


#8

I’d love to, but the Federal Government seems to frown on privately-owned, homebuilt nuclear reactors.

(Hi, NSA!) :smiley:


#9

I wonder when we will start to get practical and build large scale nuclear power, using the off demand capacity for carbon sequestration.


#10

It is at the corner of this issue that rabid haters of fossil fuel would be intelligent to make a compromise. However despite the effectiveness and cleanness of this energy source (I know, someone will bring up apocalyptic tales of doom from China syndrome, or Chernobyl) smear campaigns have managed to spread paranoia of anything of the sort. Germany kinda forgets that it buys energy from France, which makes it with nuclear power :clapping:


#11

Or, use the off-demand power to pump water into a large retaining tank to be turned into hydropower during peak times. Right now they are using coal-burning “peaking plants” to address peak demand, while keeping nuke power constant (it has to be kept constant).

Or, if a large portion of people were to get EVs and charge them at night…our ComEd man (very happy with that idea) said they could cut electricity rates in half. They are about 75% nuke and 25% coal peaking plant, and they’d be able to dispense with the peaking plant.


#12

This research doesn’t even begin to describe it. The issue with solar panels and wind turbines is the introduction of their superstructure into the environment that harms (I would argue disproportionately) ENDANGERED species.

I’ve already made clear on other threads: as an environmental scientist, I really think man-made global warming is an overrated sham.

No further discussion on this sub-thread is warranted so long as circular logic that hinges on BELIEF in a phenomena that is UNPROVEN to say the least is desired on my part.

This “global warming” nonsense is harming the environment and the way the radical left and environmental activists refuse to acknowledge it with such one-dimensional thinking makes my job harder.

I don’t appreciate that AT ALL.

And I’m tired of the scandal and the corruption.


#13

=Cricket2;12270371]This has nothing to do with the “left-wing ideology.”

It does in the sense that many liberals have taken up the cause. Naturally, a lot of them are not fully informed on the issue and actually hurt the environment more than help it.

Every single thing we do as humans impacts the environment. Oil spills kill fish and birds, and all other matters of sea life. Mining for coal destroys whole habitats. No matter what we do to provide ourselves with energy we will impact the environment. That is what this is about.

:yup:

And in the end all of the back and forth about the specific use of different energy sources usually comes down to who is going to make the biggest profit off the masses. If the everyday people were smart they would start creating their own “stand alone” energy source systems and take themselves clear of the profit mongers grid.

That’s a good point. In fact, it’s a conservative philosophical point to be self-sufficient.


#14

It will have to stop on the top.

That means no more voting based on skin color, gender, mating preference or clinging to one’s subsidy.

Then, there is trying to excuse voting in radicals who abort babies and force nuns to pay for contraception for the promiscuous. And voting for cool people (North Dakota, Montana and Indiana, I hope you’re listening) and on things like “legitimate rape.”

In other words people need to start paying attention to tangible issues,

So, one can already see the problem.

And with these leaders, back-room deals and nonsense like Solyndra is what we get.


#15

It seems that solar panels are not the problem, but reflectors focusing the sunlight into a point to get a high temperature (think solar oven, times 10,000).

Your rooftop solar panels, if you have them, are not killing the birds.

ICXC NIKA


#16

:thumbsup:


#17

And I don’t appreciate it when people don’t take seriously the well-established fact supported by 1000s of studies from many different angles (i.e., it’s quite robust) that AGW is upon us now, is contributing to harms to humans and others of God’s creatures, and poses much graver risks on into the future. Or at the very least follow what the bishops and popes have called on us to do – follow prudence and mitigate AGW, even if we personally have doubts, since the risks are so grave.

And I don’t appreciate it when people at CAF lash out against the bishops and popes, saying they are not scientists and don’t know what they’re talking about. Our current pope just happens to be a scientist and is no dumb bunny.

Having said that, I can understand an “environmental scientist” not accepting AGW, acid rain, local pollution, or any other environmental harm, since science at more than a few of our universities is corrupted by money from corporations…as on my campus where science is funded by Shell, Exxon, Halliburton, and GM. I just saw a program a couple of days ago on the corruption of science at universities and it implicated among others UC Berkeley in biased, corporate-funded science. It was mainly about pharma money and corruption, but could have equally applied to environmental sciences.

This goes beyond the usual “reticence” scientists follow by striving to avoid the false positive of making untrue claims. That itself is a bit problematic for victims of environmental harms, potential victims, and honest policy-makers striving to avoid the false negative of failing to address true problems that can harm and kill. It’s more like a situation ranging from slightly tweaking the science in the direction the corporation wishes so no one will go to jail for fraud to actual fraudulent studies. There are articles and books written about such scientific deception.

Luckily I learned about the natural greenhouse effect (and how they expected an enhanced effect with increasing industrial emissions) back in the early 60s in high school. That was many decades before science was so corrupted and public universities were funded mainly by state money, not corporate money. And there was respect for science.

It is a serious problem that large-scale alt energy projects are harming wildlife, and this certainly needs to be addressed and mitigated (and people are working on solutions) – I’m with you on that – but also needing to be addressed are the much greater harms from using conventional energy from local to global. The list is tremendous, including but not limited to, oil companies despoiling subsistence lands of people in 3rd world countries; mountaintop removal and hazards from that; coal ash spills; the 33 acre benzene plume underneath a poor residential area in a city near mine giving people leukemia (which the TCEQ refuses to clean up); cancer alleys in oil production areas in Texas and Louisiana, acidic bitumen eating thru pipes and spilling into rivers and neighborhoods (and nearly impossible to clean up); fracking harms to water and air, leaky gas pipes in cities like Sacramento; local air pollution causing diseases and death, including miscarriages and birth defects (from small particulate matter, lead, mercury, etc.); acid rain harming lakes, soil, trees, property, and lungs from SO2 and NOx from coal and oil burning; global warming enhancing droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, disease spread, sea rise, crop and seafood loss, to species decline and loss.

Environmental problems are not a political ideological thing. Both parties are somewhat corrupt and fall short in dealing with them, and the best environmental presidents were Republican: Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon.

With corruption rife we really need to dig deeply for the truth, weigh all things, following a prudence course that values life above profits, and figure a lot of things out for ourselves, which requires a tremendous amount of self-education.

If one wishes to preserve rare and endangered species, then it is best to follow a multi-pronged approach to address the multiple threats, not just shut down mega alt energy projects. For one thing that probably is not going to happen since most people do have some understanding of the risks and harms from conventional energy.

My own suggestion is to work really hard on energy/resource conservation/efficiency so as to reduce our need for so much energy in the first place, while seeking alt energy technology (esp. small scale, decentralized) that does the least harm to humans and others of God’s creatures.


#18

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