Test at Tonopah solar project ignites hundreds of birds in mid-air

Uh, oh. From NatureWorldNews


“It’s no secret that solar power is hot right now, with innovators and big name companies alike putting a great deal of time, money, and effort into improving these amazing sources of renewable energy. Still, the last thing you’d likely expect is for a new experimental array to literally light nearly 130 birds in mid-flight on fire.

And yet, that’s exactly what happened near Tonopah, Nevada last month during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.”

“According to Rudy Evenson, Deputy Chief of Communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management (NBLM) in Reno, as reported by Re Wire, a third of the newly constructed plant was put into action on the morning of Jan. 14, redirecting concentrated solar energy to a point 1,200 feet above the ground.”

“Unfortunately, about two hours into the test, engineers and biologists on site started noticing “streamers” – trails of smoke and steam caused by birds flying directly into the field of solar radiation. What moisture was on them instantly vaporized, and some instantly burst into flames – at least, until they began to frantically flap away. An estimated 130 birds were injured or killed during the test.”

“Officials behind the project have refuted that claim, saying that most of the streamers are floating trash or wayward insects, but federal wildlife officials have begun calling these ‘eco-friendly’ power towers “mega traps” for wildlife.”


“US Fish and Wildlife Service officials are now waiting for a death toll for a full year of operation at the Ivanpah plant. The subsequent report may impact plans for future solar power towers in the United States.”

h/t to WUWT reader “catcracking”

359 thoughts on “Test at Tonopah solar project ignites hundreds of birds in mid-air

    • Well the message of that photograph, is loud and clear.

      That huge circle of mirrors is mostly empty space.

      In order for the system to track the sun for the longest period of time between sunrise and sunset, with maybe an hour dead time at each end, the mirrors have to be continually steered, and they will throw shadows on each other if they are more closely packed than the array shows.

      So you start with perhaps 1,000 Wm^-2 times some latitude factor, and some mirror inclination angle, and maybe you get as much as 500 Wm^-2 for one actual mirror area.

      Taking into account the empty space required to prevent shadowing, and I doubt that the gathered solar radiant energy is more than 100 Wm^-2 of actual real estate, so maybe you get 40Wm^-2 out of the turbine.

      You would be better off filling the land area with close packed stationary bicycles, and putting immigrant workers on them to pedal up some electricity.

      Talk about a totally stupid idea, even if it didn’t fry birds.

      Remember that proposals to put big mirrors in outer space, and microwave the energy down to earth, would require either even larger receiving antennas on earth or else would of necessity create electro-magnetic fields near earth surface, that are much greater than 1,000 Wm^-2

      • You would be better off filling the land area with close packed stationary bicycles, and putting immigrant workers on them to pedal up some electricity.

        Your proposal has the added advantages of generating electricity at night, on cloudy days, and straight through dawn and dusk.

      • As a person who does non-imaging optical design for a living; and where most of that design is oriented towards “energy efficiency”, with applications to solid state lighting (LED) and also for solar energy collection / concentration; I am totally appalled at the gross inefficiency of the optical structure of this absurd boondoggle.

        You don’t have to be an optical engineer to see a fundamental optical problem with this array.

        First off, note its location; latitude wise that is. I’m guessing it is somewhere in the +35 deg. North Latitude. In any case it is well North of the Tropic of Cancer.

        So what ? it’s a good location with plenty of sun exposure.

        But because of its location the sun is NEVER directly overhead at any time during the year; but is ALWAYS south of central tower location.

        So what gives with all of those mirrors that are SOUTH of the tower location. Every one of those mirrors to the south, outside the innermost rings,must deflect the incoming solar beam through more than a 90 degree angle. And that deflection angle varies widely during the approximately 10 hours maximum time of sun exposure.

        So the incidence angle on the south mirrors is always greater than 45 degrees, so no matter what, the mirror area is always foreshortened to something less that 70% of its actual area. A total waste of mirror surface area.

        If the mirrors actually had a profile, they would all require a different focal length tailored to their location. Well it looks like they are in arcs of constant radius about the tower on the “horizontal” plane.

        Makes no sense to make them parabolic, since they are mostly grossly off axis, and their surface normal must move during the day.

        The numerical aperture of each mirror is very small, so spherical mirrors would be better than parabolic; but there again, the wide variation in incidence angle would mean totally gross astigmatism in the beam if they were spherical.

        So it is most likely that they are all flat mirrors, which solves the variable focal length requirement. Well a flat mirror of those sizes is a very unstable optical surface. You might just as well use standard sheets of plain garden variety aluminum 1100 allow or close to that.

        Well I’m not going to do a complete analysis of the optical pitfalls a contraption like this has. This is largely an exercise in rounding up a big financing grant, and building the biggest baddest boondoggle that you can get way with, before they discover what a scam you are running.

        At least the folks at CERN had the good sense to bury their boondoggle deep under ground, where it is not so obviously stinking up the place with its lavish opulence.

        There are some folks out there who have put a lot of thought into the science of non-imaging optics, with an eye to more efficient solar energy gathering. And they have a good handle on the rules, and limitations. I happen to know some of them. I shudder to think what some of them would say about this totally ridiculous monstrosity, if they had the freedom to do so (academic slavery problems).

        Well the investors in this enterprise are thoroughly deserving of losing their shirts over this venture, and in time they surely will.

        Meanwhile the birds, and the desert environment have to suffer the consequences of their foolishness.


      • You clearly do not know what you are talking about. The mirrors are stationary and do not move except with the inclination of the sun. that is the reason for the circular pattern of mirrors. There are several of these operating in the world. The first in Spain has been operating for over a decade.

      • Barry

        You write saying presumably to george e. smith

        You clearly do not know what you are talking about. The mirrors are stationary and do not move except with the inclination of the sun. that is the reason for the circular pattern of mirrors. There are several of these operating in the world. The first in Spain has been operating for over a decade.

        OK. Which are you claiming?
        (a) “The mirrors are stationary and do not move” so only shine sunlight on the tower once a day.
        (b) “The mirrors … move … with the inclination of the sun” so george e. smith is right.

        The Spanish installation exists solely to obtain subsidies which it does at night by obtaining electricity from diesel generators and selling it to the grid from the solar installation.


      • Actually the light is being concentrated upon the mirrors’ focal point to heat up liquid sodium which is the stored in the ground to be used to boil water, produce steam and drive turbines, there by producing power “when the sun don’t shine” It’s not a solar to electric photo process. I was impressed when I read about the technology a year or two ago. Seems like they could send out high pitched sounds to discourage the birds from getting too close,

      • Chuck B says:

        Seems like they could send out high pitched sounds to discourage the birds from getting too close

        If that worked, the problem of birds on airport runways would be solved.

      • “””””…..

        March 4, 2015 at 6:56 am

        You clearly do not know what you are talking about. …..”””””

        Well Barry, thanks for enlightening us all.

        So if the mirrors don’t move, then each of them only illuminates the central tower receiver for a maximum of two minutes per day.

        Optics is simple geometry Barry; and even 4-H club members understand the laws of reflection. Evidently you do not.

        No other mirror surface profile than flat, will work, because they are all operating at very large off axis incidence angles and if they were even spherical, then according to the Coddington Equations, the image would be so astigmatized that the best image would be very much larger than it already is. And since those incidence angles are constantly changing during the day at a very rapid rate, you cannot correct the astigmatism even if you could afford to make anamorphotic mirrors. They would only be correct for two minutes a day.

        With flat mirrors at least the sun image can be kept to the roughly 12.7 meters diameter that the outer circle mirrors create. But the effective surface area of each mirror is reduced from the 64.2 m^2 by the cosine of the incidence angle, which will vary throughout the day even if the mirrors do move.

        If I was you Barry, I would NEVER go outside in a thunderstorm and hold up my middle finger to the clouds, to find out if it is going to rain !

    • And Fracking is bad?
      BTW I see a decline of Yellowheaded Blackbirds they winter in the areas that seem to have an abundance of Wind and solar power-Yes’ Sayin’…

    • Some actual nummers for Tonopah.

      Cost $1G (proposed cost.)
      Nameplate capacity. 125 MW
      Capacity factor. 52%
      System Cost per Watt $8,000 Nameplate $16,000 Actual.
      Annual Energy Out 485GWh
      System Cost per KWh $0.485 One years energy.
      Total mirrors 17,500
      Mirror area 62.4 m^2
      Total mirror area 1.092 E6 m^2
      Site area 1,600 acres = 647 hectares. = 2.5 squ. miles.

      So some reports in the MSM have stated that there are 175,000 mirrors. Specially the California Bay area papers.

      So now for some other (seriously) proposed solar farms.

      January 2008 Scientific American cover article proposed one of these KFC plants; a real one, not one of these Tonopah Toys.

      For the real production steam turbine solar mirror deal, the tiny 2.5 square miles of Tiny Tonopah, is increased to 16,000 square miles of solar mirrors and central chicken cooker towers.

      That is 6400 times the size of Tonopah, or ……. 80 …… !! EIGHTY !! ….. times the size of Tonopah, to be placed in the “Waste Desert Areas ” of Southern California.

      But this Full Scale Barbecuer was just a backup for the real solar plant which is to be all solar panels.

      That one; the PV miracle in your back yard is to be full sized at …… 30,000 ….. square miles.

      Now 30,000 square miles just happens to be 19.2 million acres.

      Well we already have just the spot for that.

      19.2 million acres happens to be the exact size of the entire Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. And Just 2400 acres of the ANWR site; a mere 1.5 Tonopunys, is enough to get more energy out of ANWR in the form of black liquid rocks; AKA Orl !!

      So there you have it. These people are seriously disturbed when it comes to seriously disturbing the pristine natural environment.

      So bless ourselves that we only have Tiny Tonopah Toyland to worry about now.


      • “While biologists say there is no known feasible way to curb the number of birds killed, the companies behind the projects say they are hoping to find one — studying whether lights, sounds or some other technology would scare them away, said Joseph Desmond, senior vice president at BrightSource Energy.”

        Forget it, this stuff nonsense, airports have been trying every possible mechanism and technology to get rid of birds, for the past 100 years. Nothing works. Well, you can shoot them dead, that works pretty well at reducing birdstrike.

      • Amsterdam airport installed a targeted laser beam, for scaring the birds away.
        Did it work? Naa.
        They thought it was showtime, and did little dances in the ‘limelight’.


      • They have got a technic to stop the problem. Kill the birds as per at airports where they shoot them.

        This is a wonderful machine it cures its own bird problem.

      • Maybe we have a solution here: place the solar arrays at the airports. The planes won’t be able to approach either, but that just means less use of fossil fuels. It’s win-win!

      • “””””…..

        March 2, 2015 at 7:05 am

        “While biologists say there is no known feasible way to curb the number of birds killed, the companies behind the projects say they are hoping to find one ……”””””

        Well I can tell them how to stop frying the birds, and the answer is right before their eyes.

        Take a look at that beautiful aerial photo of the mirror array.

        Every one of those mirrors, is parked with its reflective face pointed straight down at the ground.

        So here’s my cure for the fried bird problem.

        Pull the main fuse that supplies power to the tracking motors. Problem solved !

        It only takes about a thousand years to remove all traces that man was ever here; well except for the pyramids.

    • “Wonder what PETA will have to say about this?”

      As long as they’re not for human consumption…

      • We’ve gained notoriety
        And caused much anxiety
        In the Audobon Society
        With our games
        They call it impiety
        And lack of propriety
        And quite a variety of unpleasant names

        But it’s not against any religion
        To want to dispose of a pigeon

        ….from the great philiosopher and pigeon hater, Tom Lehrer

      • Call the Audubon Society if you’re curious. I did. They told me the birds will die anyway. Because of Global Warming. So what’s a few dead birds to save the whole planet.
        Makes me sick that these people are supposedly the go-to people to protect birds.

        They have recently changed their website, hiding their phone numbers. Maybe this will help put pressure on these…..people. http://www.audubon.org/audubon-near-you

      • Call the Audubon Society if you’re curious. I did. They told me the birds will die anyway. Because of Global Warming. So what’s a few dead birds to save the whole planet.?

        This is strangely familiar… Oh yea, from Vietnam: “We had to destroy the village to save it.” The poor puppy on the phone was probably way too young to realize what he was saying.

        When they fire it up, we need a million bird march. Sure a lot of birds would be lost flinging themselves into the flaming inferno of the beachhead, but they would die knowing they were saving their species. We could build graveyards for them around the plants, millions of little crosses, and invite migrating tourists to visit and commemorate their sacrifice.

    • Not a thing. PETA kills more than 90% of the animals they “rescue” claiming no one wants them. Speaking as someone who has several blind dogs and cats, a diabetic dog, a couple of deaf pigs, a pig mauled by dogs and a crippled mule and a dozen animals, both rescue and stray, I’d have to say they aren’t looking very hard to find homes for the animals they euthanize. PETA is just like the liberal screaming for free speech… hypocrites every last one of them. Anything else I have to say about PETA would be (rightly) snipped by the mod.

    • I’m working on a solution. The cockpit has to be equipped with special fast acting titanium shutters and an automated defense system, located in pods slung under each wing, fires x Ray lasers at the main solar power tower. This causes a steam explosion which flattens the mirrors.

      • It used to be so, that when the DEFCON level raised enough, the pilots of the nuclear bomb planes put an eye patch over one eye. If there were a bright nuclear explosion, the pilots would then change the patch to second eye revealing the eye that was not blinded. Nowadays they have automatic glasses.

        I think we should by the glass company stock ;)

  1. He who doesn’t learn from history is condemned to repeat it– or words to that effect.
    Some time back, Mythbusters did something about mirrors concentrating the sun’s energy on a fixed point, causing– in this case– a Roman trireme to burst into flames. Well, that was the myth anyway. It didn’t work for a host of reasons, not least of which is the difficulty in getting the Romans to bring their trireme to the exact spot where the mirrors targeted, and then hold it there until the concentrated beam could work.

    This is somewhat different, the energy is concentrated on a fixed point– I haven’t looked up why, but I suspect boiling water for steam to turn a generator. The boiler can be mounted at the optimum point, and the concentrated energy of the sun certainly will boil water.

    A bird flying close enough to the point of concentration is in trouble of course. The bird doesn’t have nearly the mass of the trireme, and the mirrors in this device can be aimed with much greater precision than could be achieved in the Mythbuster test. Such a large number of mirrors might have more than one focal point too, so that it’s possible that a bird not near the intended target could get burned by an auxiliary focal point.

    More study needed. In the meantime, how about some roast duck?

    • Actually, the mirror field creates a cone of heat death around the central tower which puts any bird flying into it at risk. The other part of the equation is how many birds are injured to die later that won’t be counted in the stats.

      • The worst part is that the mirror field appears as surface water in the distance, so they will attract thirst desert birds who think they are coming in for a drink at an unexpected oasis. Talk about a mirage!

      • As Owen mentions (below), all solar fields have become a problem for many water birds who are fooled into trying to land there. Even with no damage (due to heat or injury) these birds have a very hard time time taking off again as they don’t have the room. FWS released a report about a year ago covering all types of solar collection fields (solar cells as well as mirror concentrators) and the numbers of dead birds were very high. I can’t find the reference any more – does anyone have this?

      • A second comment is that this facility is built in the desert prone to wind and dust. They use trucks burning gasoline to drive around and clean the hundreds of mirrors every couple of days or so. How much precious water are used in this desert? And where does the water come from? How did they get a water use permit in an area where water resources are already oversubscribed?

    • Once the sun goes down, how is the water hot kept overnight in order to to kick-off the next morning?

    • Look up the fine at an oil drilling or mining site if a duck lands on a pond with an oil slick. It is 6 figures if my memory is correct. Same laws should be applied to the solar plant as at an oil or mining facility.

  2. You guys are missing the real issue here!
    This supposedly green and Carbon free energy now seems to contribute to CO2 in the atmosphere by burning birds to ashes.
    There goes the green in green energy…

    • Well, they want to force the coal plants to sequester that carbon, the same should go for those burning birds. Shut them down until they have a viable carbon dioxide sequestration system installed.

  3. “US Fish and Wildlife Service officials are now waiting for a death toll for a full year of operation at the Ivanpah plant. The subsequent report may impact plans for future solar power towers in the United States.”
    10:1 odds that the bird deaths at Ivanpah will be rationalized and the plant will be approved. Just look at the environmentalists’ rhetoric in past. “Oh, but cats kill more birds than wind generators.”

      • Man years ago, my – barely more than a kitten – cat, Snudge, severely frightened a kestrel, that had pursued a sparrow into one of our shrubs. Our garden slopes up – Southern Downs, south of London – so our kestrel had to flap like the proverbial flying pig to gain altitude, whilst the little kitten was racing up hill after her/him.
        Snudge missed narrowly – them – bad day for birds – had the sparrow!


    • It appears whoever designed this solar death star didn’t consider all environmental factors.


      (Of course, the same poor standards can be said of wind farms, too!)

      • “(Of course, the same poor standards can be said of wind farms, too!)”

        When I read this article, I imagined the birds thinking “Boy – I’m glad we made it through all those windmills. Let’s fly this way – it’s nice and flat and there’s not a windmill in site…….”

        Poof – Poof – Poof Poof Poof…..

      • I think they did consider everything in the design. The goal, like most other green projects is to harvest green dollars not green energy. The wildlife deaths and high natural gas requirements are a planned benefit because they hope the project will be closed down. The developers have made their money and Gaia forbid that they actually have to make it work. There is a pattern of Democrat donors getting large grants to build green projects and then requiring on-going subsidies or declaring bankruptcy.

      • Justsan you can add monorails, high speed rail, lite rail, dedicated bike roads, toll carpool lanes electric cars, ethanol… and on and on…

    • This is a misunderstanding, they collect data grilled birds versus time, you will see a decline in the numbers.
      Extrapolation results in zero grilled birds at prolonged time. This is solid data to justify the project.

  4. “waiting for a death toll for a full year”? So they start up 1/3 of the array for 2 hours and 130 birds are killed. Let’s do the maths: assume average 12 hours/day of sunlight and no cloud, 130*3*6 = birds/day * 365 = birds/year. I make it 854,100 birds (is 4 sig figs precise enough for AGW use?). What level of death would be acceptable? Could they get away with half a million dead birds/year perhaps? Or could they stretch it to three-quarters of a million by claiming they have a bird capture and storage solution that’ll be ready real soon now?

      • Reduced by what percentage? That more or less destroys what efficiency the plant has, thus requiring ever more acreage and increasing costs, doesn’t it. And it makes it all OK.
        “Oh, but…”

      • @ icouldn’helpit

        Your stated rationale might have more credibility if you hadn’t also directed somewhat derogatory remarks at the readership, among other things. Do your remarks add to the conversation, or merely serve to obscure ideas and deflect attention away from real issues which don’t fit with your agenda?

      • Hmmmmmmmm.
        Possibly avoid wrestling pigs in mud.
        They enjoy it.
        You might not be built for it – let alone enjoy it!

        And guess who seems to get the upper side?


    • icouldnthelpit

      You say

      My point to Peter was that the site doesn’t seem to be killing 130 birds every 2 hours.

      Well, what rate of bird killing do you think the plant now “seems” to be doing when operating normally: 129 birds every 2 hours?

      We know what it was doing. I refer you to the previous report of this matter on WUWT which is here and includes this

      IVANPAH DRY LAKE (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.

      There would be clear information on the recent performance of the plant if that performance were not an embarrassment.


      • Richard, the article says that only a third of the plant was “fired up”. In any case one can’t expect that the rate of kill cited will be kept up indefinitely. The number of birds available to be killed will reduce over time, gradually leading to a kill rate of zero as bird species in the area go extinct.

      • James Strom

        Yes. I agree with all you say to me, and what you say is why I think the post of ‘icouldnthelpit’ needs to be flagged-up and strongly opposed.

        Eradication of species to “save the environment” is an insane activity.


      • icouldnthelpit

        You help me? I laughed so much it hurt.
        You would need to learn to read before you could help me!

        I asked

        Well, what rate of bird killing do you think the plant now “seems” to be doing when operating normally: 129 birds every 2 hours?

        Do you see the phrase “when operating normally”, icouldnthelpit? Do you understand it?

        If you do understand it, then why do you reply to it by saying this?

        Over the last 30 days of commissioning activities, which includes extended periods of flux (sunlight) on the tower, the Crescent Dunes project has only experienced a single (one) avian fatality attributed to the solar facility,

        “Commissioning activities” are NOT the plant “operating normally”.

        I refer you to the post from James Strom in this sub-thread: it is here and provides clear explanation that you are spouting nonsense.


      • icouldnthelpit

        That is desperate! And it is very, very funny!

        “When operating normally”, icouldnthelpit, “when operating normally”.
        And “now” means “at present”.

        I again refer you to the post from James Strom in this sub-thread.


      • icouldnthelpit

        Enough of your lunacy!

        I wrote

        And “now” means “at present”.

        and you have replied saying to that

        I’m still guessing by “now” you mean “at present”

        There is no need to “guess” any of my meanings because they are clear.

        I have no intention of providing a series of different phrasings of my question to you, and I repeat that my clear and unambiguous question remains

        Well, what rate of bird killing do you think the plant now “seems” to be doing when operating normally: 129 birds every 2 hours?

        If you are unwilling to answer it then say so instead of the nonsense you keep providing.

        I again refer you to the post from James Strom in this sub-thread.


      • @richardcourtney. I am not sure if I read the thing correctly, the semantics are inspiring. My question to “Icouldnothelpit” is as follows.
        Does the “commissioned” sunlight falling on the tower start at sun-up and stops at sundown? I’d like to know how DO you commission sunlight btw? (there could be money there) After all, the “sunlight” is hitting the tower no matter if the mirrors are used or not.
        So there you go, the damned thing is working as advertised, I tell you!, “commissioned” sunlight is hitting it !!. (sarc/ cyn/ disgust/ anger turned off)

      • Richard;

        why do you even try, icouldnthelpit is a troll and will say anything.
        Don’t feed the troll

      • Bob Boder

        I “try” BECAUSE icouldnthelpit is a troll and therefore, will say anything to mislead onlookers.

        Trolls choose to promote falsehoods so they cannot be educated, but their falsehoods can be corrected so they don’t mislead onlookers.

        I commend you to read the amusing post from asybot (immediately above your post) because it displays the ridicule of icouldnthelpit which is most useful in pointing out the idiocy of the comments from icouldnthelpit.


      • Friends:

        I point out that icouldnthelpit has again admitted there are more than one of them when they write

        We are still trying …

        And I repeat what I said the last time they admitted it.

        Employed trolls get payments for publishing nonsensical posts to disrupt threads and they often consist of teams.


  5. What would be ironic is if a republican president is elected, the president used the EPA to shutdown solar panel farms across the country until federal studies into the effects on wildlife are concluded. Which of course could take decades or until the next president is elected.

    The cherry on top of the irony would be environmental groups protesting the shutting down of solar farms based on concerns for wildlife.

    It would not be surprising since we continue to live in an extraordinary and improbable world…

    • “The cherry on top of the irony would be environmental groups protesting the shutting down of solar farms based on concerns for wildlife.”
      Ironic reality. That’s exactly the type of current environmentalist rhetoric used to justify bird deaths by wind generators. Those birds must be sacrificed for the greater good of saving the whole planet from the hand of man. Those who practice such rhetoric live in a bubble painted with their beliefs, unable to view and separated from reality.

    • Alx, by then they will have done their job of moving money from taxpayer to Progressive and liberal donors and conned money from the eco loon true believers in the form of donations to “nonprofit” groups that supported building these nightmares. They’ve never had to work, not part of the success criteria.

  6. What, the designers of the system didn’t realize that things fly thru the air? So are the Feds going to approve other solar systems during the year’s study?

  7. That would be the Law of Unintended Consequences.

    It seems to have an almost unnatural attachment to green causes these days. My layman’s working theory is that all of their ideas were tried in the period from Neaderthals up until the period after WWII and shown to be complete failures.

    However, because none of them were alive when history happened, and because their educations were largely devoid of both history and science, they think that wind, Sun, water and biomass are brand new ideas, given that they are things that late 20th century people were no longer using.

    • I shouldn’t have included water in that – hydro is, of course, far and away the best green electricity source in hilly country with substantial water resources. A relatively “niche” source, in other words.

      • Strange then, that in California, hydro power is not counted as ‘renewable’.

      • It’s only that millions of fish are chopped to pieces by water-driven turbines each year, too, Anto. This is a fact hydro power companies are completely covering up for over a century already.

      • There’s a hydro plant in Georgia that runs all day by moving water from the high lake to the low lake. Then at night when demand is down, they pump the water back up. It’s just a power storage mechanism in this instance.

      • The greens are now trying to remove all the hydro dams because of their impact on the fish (e.g., salmon) and other aquatic life up and down the river. Of course they can’t classify them as renewable, that would not be ‘logical’.

    • My layman’s working theory is that all of their ideas were tried in the period from Neaderthals up until the period after WWII and shown to be complete failures.

      No. The problem is that after two devastating world wars, we are left with the majority of people being descended from the Ark of the hairdressers, accountants, film makers, and phone sanitisers. And if you go to a Green meeting, it shows too. Never seen so many beads, crystals, dreadlocks, vapid conversation and vacant stares.


  8. Have you noticed a repeating pattern here? Watermelons and those who benefit from watermelon dollars sure like to blow things up. Children…birds…

    • Yes if the TERRORIST took over the control of the mirrors and targeted US Military Satellites or GPS or Communication Satellites they could heat them up on Orbit by thousands of degrees. They could target planes with them. If they knew Air Force One was flying by who needs a missile. If a country say CHINA build big solar stations and put big Mirrors say on Satellites that they came put up themselves in Orbit well, lets say who needs nukes. Bricks melt at less than 2000 Degrees and if you can reflect a wide beam of 3 or 4 thousand degrees to any city you wanted to you would be a solar super power now wouldn’t you. Watch the bond movie Die Another Day and think of Icarus beam but from the ground up to Orbit then to any were in line of sight of your Satellite. A couple of solar stations and a couple of satellites and you can rule the world. Were is our Home land security trying to keep the terrorists out of this weapon, patting people down and downing a donuts and coffee at a Airport near you I bet.

      • I don’t think weaponizing this would be possible… the mirrors should be set up for the focal length of it’s current target area, Think of it like a magnifying lens. Too close or too far and you lost all your power… In other words… You couldn’t pull a HELIOS One and turn it into a death ray unless you can get the Brotherhood of Steel to help you.

  9. I saw a story a while back on this terrible problem and posted it on some liberal green blogs. It seems killing birds, bats, etc. is OK if it’s done in a green manner. Many responded that the deaths were necessary for ‘research’ and they mentioned the number of birds killed flying into buildings.

  10. How long of a duration was the test so therefore how many birds and migratory birds and butterflies, honeybees, rare dragon flies will be smoked due to the solar system?

    • No, but the Greens will open a restaurant with grilled birds on the menu and CO2 neutral

      • Not CO2 neutral.

        Ivanpah uses natural gas in auxiliary boilers to keep the plant heated at night and on cloud days. As the planned was not performing as predicted 60 percent more natural gas was allowed than permitted under the plant’s certification

  11. Looking at the estimated power output, this solar plant will, at best, produce not 110 MW but 55 MW
    (average) using 1600 acres of land.That’s about 3 to 5% of the output of a nuclear plant, which typically requires 50 to 100 acres of land. Would require over 32,000 acres of land packed with solar plants to match the output of a single nuclear plant.

      • No, you have it all wrong, all green schemes operate at nameplate capacity 24 hours per days, 365 days per year and save seal pups and pandas.

    • If 50 nuke-equivalent plants are needed, that is about 1.6m acres. Is it permissible to fry all the flying wildlife passing over 1,600,000 acres of land on a daily basis? That is slightly smaller than Rhode Island. Maybe according the Book of Green, Ch 1 “The War Against Common Sense”, that is OK.

      • the foot print of the Ivanpah project is immense ..it really is impressive to see. I was doing an aerial survey of the rare earth mine beside the project a few years back and it was under construction then

  12. What other industry is allowed to burn animals to death. Falling to their death while on fire is something that is subsidized by taxpayers?

    • Oh, but birds are renewable. Fight for climate justice. Think of the children.


  13. Arthur4563, stop using real numbers. Green numbers are different and prove that no birds are harmed, the amount of power generated is infinite and completely free of all costs and the whole thing requires no space at all.

  14. Let’s compare nuclear power plants with reality: when things go wrong, many square miles of habitable land becomes uninhabitable including entire cities so far. Not to mention the entire Pacific Ocean polluted with nuclear waste materials that affect everything there.

    Nuclear power is a mega-disaster in waiting with no fixes possible once it happens.

    Mega solar power plants are stupid ideas. The birds dying is obvious from day one and easily foreseen. It is an abuse of the concept of solar energy! The idea of putting panels on private roofs owned by the people using this energy mainly to run air conditioning and other day time things is a great idea.

    These giant plants focusing sun on a tower is a very dangerous, stupid and inefficient idea.

    • “Not to mention the entire Pacific Ocean polluted with nuclear waste materials that affect everything there.”

      emsnews: Your statement is completely false. Completely. No matter how you try to spin it, 110 tons of nuclear material cannot “pollute” 660 million billion tons of seawater. So go and peddle your ignorance at a Grist blog, where they lap that up in an uncritical frenzy. Dave Suzuki loves you.

      • What?
        Do you mean that ~.0000002 parts per billion/seawater isn’t scary enough? Go figure.

    • BS!

      The whole Pacific gets more contamination from volcanic sources than it got from Fukishima. Nuclear is fairly safe. No one died from Three Mile Island, very few will have died from Fukishima (more die from accidents at conventional power plants than from this accident). The contaminants will eventually sink to the bottom, but there will be a brief period where contamination will be detectable in the higher predators in the food chain. So we will have to screen the catch for contaminants and send those with contaminants to the deep ocean bottom. Luckily most of these uranium fission daughters have short half lives and by the time they resurface will be in much more benign forms.

      Nuclear power, when managed correctly (as most plants are!) is safer than coal or gas fired plants and have fewer accidents than almost any other industrial plant as well.

  15. “Officials behind the project have refuted that claim, saying that most of the streamers are floating trash or wayward insects”

    Refuted with the certainty of a climate modeller on a witch hunt.

    • ” …floating trash …”? I’ve worked as a geologist in desert in this part of the world and have found very little trash that has floated in, mostly feral party balloons.

    • In order to get a streamer, there must be some very big INSECTS, like prehistoric M. permiana, was probably the largest insect that ever lived: its wingspan could exceed two feet (60cm), and its body grew to nearly 17 inches (40 cm). But I thought they were extinct already. Streamer insects, hide the children and small dogs.

  16. This topic was well discussed here 6 months ago in the context of the Ivanpah installation:


    I think that it was subsequently revealed on this site , that the performance of the plant was so low that its output required considerable backup from diesel or gas generators , and that the losses for the promoters , including Google , were so large that they were petitioning Washington for more subsidy. I cannot however find that record , so I may have read it elsewhere.

    • Ivanpah has natural gas backup to keep things operating, and is using much more than expected. See http://www.kcet.org/news/redefine/rewire/solar/concentrating-solar/ivanpah-solar-plant-owners-want-to-burn-a-lot-more-natural-gas.html which says in part:

      The project’s managers, BrightSource Energy and NRG Energy, originally estimated that the plant’s main auxiliary boilers would need to run for an hour a day, on average, to allow the plant to capture solar energy efficiently. But after a few months of operation, they’re now saying they need to burn more gas, with the boilers running an average of five hours a day.

      To that end, the companies have asked the California Energy Commission (CEC) to change the project’s license to allow Ivanpah to burn more than 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas a year, and the plant’s operators say that change won’t have any environmental impact.

  17. The solution is obvious: the EPA will simply issue a regulation requiring all flying creatures to remain at least 500 feet from the installation boundary. There. See how easy that was?

    • Federal airspace is not regulated by the EPA but the FAA.

      If the FAA were to put the airspace around the power plant into the same category as the airspace around the Washington DC and the White House, all birds trying to enter would get a couple of F-16’s to escort them off the premises to a safe landing place where they would have an interview without coffee with the DHS.

  18. New idea for a “Dirty Jobs” episode, scraping the bird, bat and bug parts off of solar reflectiing mirrors.

  19. Still, the last thing you’d likely expect is for a new experimental array to literally light nearly 130 birds in mid-flight on fire…………said the idiots that approved this

    Everyone else with 1/2 a brain saw it coming….

  20. I really shake my head on this….we have some ducks land on a tailings pond and the world condemns it…and this? silence…

    • Silence from the VERY same group who demanded Exxon pay hundreds/thousands? per sea bird affected by the Valdez disaster but – obtained a waiver for bald eagles killed by wind turbines. Their hypocrisy is breathtakingly vile.

  21. We live in Nevada and have driven by that plant a couple times. Pretty impressive from the highway.
    Don’t worry about the birds. They have worked out the offset. Some of us in Reno have been asked to put out an extra bird feeder.

    • @ D Caldwell: So you are exactly saying what the Greens do, Divert, deflect and it will go away ( unless you forgot to put a Sarc at the end).

  22. I guess the WWF and Audubon Society are too busy with lobbying to be bothered with birds.

    • http://www.audubon.org/press-release/interior-dept-rule-greenlights-eagle-slaughter-wind-farms-says-audubon

      “Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. “It’s outrageous that the government is sanctioning the killing of America’s symbol, the Bald Eagle. Audubon will continue to look for reasonable, thoughtful partners to wean America off fossil fuels because that should be everyone’s highest priority. We have no choice but to challenge this decision, and all options are on the table.”

      That’s why they’ll NEVER see a donation from me!

  23. Assessing an accurate death toll may in fact be very difficult. For every bird that flies close to the tower where the light is concentrated enough to ignite their feathers – there will be dozens more that flew a little further away from the tower and were only slightly singed and or slightly blinded.

    How will those birds be tracked? The ones still able to fly might travel miles from the facility but will be expending far more energy because of their singed flight feathers. I strongly suspect many of that group will also die but never be counted. In harsh places like a desert there is little room for such degradation of the ratio of an animal’s foraging activity against the amount of energy they expend to forage. When you are living “on the edge” it doesn’t take much to push you over it.

    Also there is the issue of eyesight degradation. Maybe they can fly just fine but can no longer see well enough to find food or water or … potential predators in time… etc.

    And, as I and others have mentioned before, these facilities look like shimmering bodies of water in the desert from miles away (and those very areas used to be lakes anyway). The only natural substance that reflects sunlight and the color of the sky over a large area is .. liquid water. What could be more attractive than that to any bird flying around in the desert?

  24. I have a question. Isn’t all of this “Green” technology supposed to help slow or stop climate change, which in turn is supposed to slow or stop the number of species that become extinct?

    How do we do that if our “Green” technology is killing birds and animals, which if it keeps going long enough must surely cause species extinction? Wind-farms attract bugs, which in turn attract birds which get injured/killed by the massive blades of the turbines. Now this device reflects and concentrates sunlight, burning birds who fly through the “cone of death”. None of the experts saw this coming either. None of the experts ever burned ants with a magnifying glass either– a hobby my younger brother had for a few years.

    If the sun can be concentrated by reflectors with enough intensity to turn water into steam to run a generator, it can sure enough burn anything that flies too close.

    • You can feel the heat generated by the Ivanpah solar facility as you drive past …

    • It’s liquid sodium, held in storage overnight to keep the heat handy. There are some water systems, but this isn’t one of them.

      • Tonopah is molten salts. That probably is a much better material. It takes three months to melt all the salts, and then they can run the thing 24 hours per day, but clearly not at the full peak sun generating capacity.

        I agree that they are learning going from water to Sodium to molten salts, but it is still a stupid waste of real estate, just to prove you can improve the engineering design; but you can’t ever overcome the simple optical geometry problem.

  25. https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb/radiusSearchAction.do?formatType=ICAO&geoIcaoLocId=MMTJ&geoIcaoRadius=5&openItems=&actionType=radiusSearch

    END PART 1 OF 2. 24 DEC 21:30 2014 UNTIL 31 DEC 15:59 2016 ESTIMATED. CREATED:
    24 DEC 21:31 2014

  26. 130 birds – per 2 hours – in the desert. That doesn’t sound very sustainable. I’m sure it will drop once all the birds are dead.

  27. Sounds like you need this solar array to be designed like an aviary – to keep the birds out, rather than to keep them in.

    It’s hardly a hugely expensive addition to project costs, after all……at least I don’t think it would be……

  28. This bird frying problem has an obvious solution:

    Operate the plant at night when the birds are not flying!

    • Sorry, but thank goodness, most bird migration takes place at night. Years ago, during the right times of year, you could see many huge flights of them on the old analog radar screens at the FAA Air Traffic Control Centers. The slaughter would be unimaginable if one of those flights tried to pass during the day.

    • Read it thanks, their quote “From a concentrated solar power standpoint, Tonopah is the center of the universe,” he said”
      I got the drift, but as far as we know the “center of the Universe or our Galaxy” is a black hole.
      At least they got that right this solar plant is a black hole, sucking in Taxpayers money never to be seen again.

  29. If a dry bird should fly by and burn dry and not stream poor thing not even in the count.
    Just how good are the eyes of the counters, and just how honest,
    Or say it just makes the lady birds eggs go bad
    or say it just makes the boy birds sex thing go bad

    • You touch on one point I didn’t think of – the mating rituals of some bird species are highly dependent upon feather coloring and display so reproduction success could indeed be adversely affected. A problem like that, if not thoroughly researched to be ruled out now, won’t otherwise be noticed until it’s TOO LATE!

      ** “Gee, the “streamer” rate seems to have decreased dramatically from last year so I guess the problem is … “going away!”

      So yes … WHO is assessing all of the possibilities? Is it robust and being done honestly?

  30. “US Fish and Wildlife Service officials are now waiting for a death toll for a full year of operation at the Ivanpah plant. The subsequent report may impact plans for future solar power towers in the United States.”

    I find this dismissal of the bird killings quite revealing as to their tolerance for the killings, and that they don’t really care.

    First, from the information provided, there is some uncertainty as to what is being vaporized since there may not be any means (remains) to measure thereafter, to determine what is causing the smoke.

    Second who counts?

    Last, does it take a year to measure, assuming they can, to get a count and, are they hoping that all birds in the neighborhood are virtually wiped out so the count goes down with time?

    Do they think we are that stupid, ignoring this while they put others out of business with hefty fines for one bird who lands on a pond and has to be cleaned up!!

    • It’s the American version of Putin’s in your face tactics. I predict no news coverage at this site.

      • Takes a year to get data (that can then be massaged) to interpret and reinterpret. They need to make sure the “streamers” are actually birds before they count them; as they said, some of the “streamers” are big ass insects that just resemble birds.

        After a year of data collection we will se that “Seasonal” killings represent a large percentage of the overall deaths … therefore, with a shut down for a few weeks here and there, the killings will be reduced by 87.6%. Now we can pat them on the back for saving 3,272 birds a year.

        I’ll bet anyone here (without research) that there have already been numerous grant requests (maybe not for this facility, but for others) to study the bird death issue, as associated with windmills/solar arrays, so they can move forward with a solution.

  31. Besides the green hypocrisy at work here due to the birds being fried, I also have to wonder about how all those mirrors are going to hold up long term in the face of sandstorms that will inevitably blow through the area–not to mention the sand that gets blown around on a daily basis.

    Whoever has money invested in this idiocy and/or approved it obviously did not think things through very well before acting. As one how has a lot of respect for animals and wildlife, I will look forward with great interest to the day that they all get burned for it (pardon the pun).

  32. y’know, and enterprising person could set up a food truck and feed the staff continuously .. just sayin’ :-)

  33. Geez…how ’bout we put the whole thing underground?

    No, not the Greens; the entire solar array & steam tower.

    This is really green engineering 101.

    • Makes sense to me.

      I have often thought it would be a good idea to use such amirror array to focus the sun on the end of a “heat pipe” which either boiled sodium or molten salt or other phase change heat pipe, and channel that heat down that heat pipe to an underground shale oil region, so that it could melt the shale oil and then pump it out of the ground. They do that now by burning some of the shale oil in situ, so it heats the rest and melts the oil to pumping viscosity.

      So why not use solar radiation to pipe heat down to the shale, so you don’t have to burn any of it underground.

      • So why not use solar radiation to pipe heat down to the shale, so you don’t have to burn any of it underground?

        Too many acres of wasted concrete, solar reflectors, controllers, heat-lamp collectors, controllers, pumps, miles of molten-salt piping over too many thousand acres of rough and unpaved terrain (often woods, fields, farms, trees, valleys, streams and wild areas or “across the (not-bridged) canyon” to put up a short-time use molten salt array and molten salt (retention ponds, coolers, heaters and command shacks) to pay for a few months of drilling. Oh – by the way, you get little solar energy in Alberta, ND, SD, ID, and the under the cloudy skies of PA, MI, MN, and OH.

  34. Solution: generate steam, create an array of steam-driven ultrasonic whistles, use reflectors to focus sound within the danger zone. Birds hear the alarm and change course.

  35. Sounds like they will need gov funding for a new project to change the magnetic field of the earth so birds fly around the plant. Subsequently, gov funding for a project to re calibrate the sensors on planes to allow for the changes to the earths magnetic field will be required. Subsequently, gov funding….

    I can see the saliva dripping already.

  36. I’m going to apply for a job down there as a window washer, keep all the mirrors clean.

  37. This problem is easily fixed, only allow the plant to run at night. It can probably provide the same energy to the grid using the gas is uses to heat the boiler to run generators instead. The mirrors are only markers for the subsidy farm anyway.

  38. To the real environmentalists and conservationists these wildlife killings are a heartbreak.
    To the real environmentalists and conservationists these killings are criminal.

    • Their excuse is that the streamers might be insects. Hmm, insects don’t count? Any butterflies, bees, etc. ever fly through that country? Maybe an endangered species or many endangered insects?

  39. I can’t believe that at least some of the engineers on this project didn’t use a magnifying glass to burn small insects when they were kids. In building this —-thing—- it seems to me someone should have asked the question about birds and flying insects and—trash???? Get the contractors out to clean up the mess they made in the middle of the desert.


    • Hmm looks interesting but the BBC lie again… its not the worlds first there are others.. one in france since 1966 and bigger in terms of output too… again though environmental consequences could be quite high.. but what human activity docent have environmental consequence … we all breath (CO2) and *art (CH4)

    • All the pictures look very attractive but anyone who has sailed in the Bristol Channel will realize that the water is normally a filthy brown color.

  40. the efficiency will pick up next weekend when we go Daylight savings time.
    that is another joke we have to deal with.

  41. From recovery to processing to manufacturing to deployment to operation to reclamation, green technology is a fairy tale. The sooner we acknowledge this and judge each technology on its full life cycle merits in context, the sooner we can have a rational discussion about reasonably advancing human productivity and welfare.

  42. I wonder what faux Nobel laureate Camille Parmisan would make of this bird death? Can we hope she’ll be as hyperbolic about birds going “extinct” due to so-called green and renewable electrical generation as she was about not finding a few butterflies in certain areas due to alleged CAGW? And how do the Pika extinction alarmists come down on this issue? Is unbalancing the eco-systems of large swaths of desert and the direct killing of birds and bats in any way a problem for them?

    My prediction: we’ll never know, because these cherry-pickin’ climate Scientologists won’t allow themselves to look at this information. It would upset their precious narrative.

  43. SouthWest AirLine’s Milwaukee – SanFrancisco direct flight flies right over that thing. But I didn’t see any flaming birds.

  44. But…but…but…according to St. Suzuki, that’s NOT a lot of birds at all. Our pet cats, er companion felines, kill WAY more, so this can’t be a problem.

    Or something. I can’t get green “logic”. It appears to be a bit lax in actually being logical.

  45. This makes more sense than the operator claims:

    “Wildlife officials who witnessed the phenomena say many of the clouds of smoke were too big to come from anything but a bird, and they add that they saw the ‘birds entering the solar flux and igniting, consequently become a streamer.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2728009/SLAUGHTER-quest-clean-energy-Worlds-largest-solar-plant-scorched-bird-body-count-build-one-larger-flight-path-flocks-millions.html#ixzz3TFjK3sEN
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    • It’s a pity the daily Mail can’t spell ‘Nevada’ or ‘Lake Havasu City’ – see the map at the bottom of the link.

  46. Within 5 years these things will be in mothball-caretaker status. The Federal subsidies will vanish, and these inefficient bird-cookers will be written into the history books as another failed Green-socialist experiment.

    • Were I the engineer, with any input, on the project it would have been designed with this in mind.

      The solar portion would just be fluff and associated profit from subsidies. The infrastructure is paid for by the subsidies and the green investors … when things fall apart and ownership is restructured you then have a relatively low efficiency natural gas generator in a low cost natural gas economy.

      Maybe they’re thinking ahead … maybe I give them too much credit … maybe I’m a paranoid nut case.

  47. Finally, solar power has achieved the deadly potential previously only known from wind turbines.
    Funny how those Greens protect nature. They manage to get EVERYTHING backwards.

  48. Here’s an idea: Line the perimeter of mirrors with windmills. Use the power from the solar array to power the windmills and blow the birds off course and out of harm’s way. Win, win.

  49. People were saying that PV would be written off.

    PV is at or below grid parity with NG now. Individuals can buy panels (UL listed 25 year life) for $0.72 per watt, and ~ $2 a watt for a total system install including panels, mounting, inverters, grid interties, etc. and storage.

    And the prices keep dropping.

    • Their efficiency is only acceptable where the sun shines most of the day at high incidence angles. Then the economics only work-out with taxpayer subsidies or conventional power user subsidization. It’s in the US southwest, and in areas of Spain, or Australia do they get reliably high levels of incident sunlight to amortize the installation cost of solar PV in their 20 yr panel life span before they have to be replaced. Putting PV on structures to “replace” available reliable grid-provided power is simply a farce. It is merely a money-game for installers that feeds off the tax or rate payer subsidization, not any form of economic reality.

    • And how many hours a day of power do you get for your $2 a watt? So it really is not $2 a watt. More like $10 a watt or $24. And on a very cloudy day? Well divide by zero is indeterminate.

    • That is owner purchase non taxpayer funded solar panels isn’t it ??

      I mean if the owner user is not paying for the thing he ordered, then who knows what it really costs.

  50. Can’t you all just try to look on the “bright side.” At least it uses a lot of water in the desert. That saves the US from those extraordinarily water intensive dairy and beef cattle in NV, which provide nothing but unsustainable beef, leather, medication, tire and road additives, strings used in classical music, milk, cheese and ice cream.

    And another “brilliant idea” in NV is to build one of the world’s largest pipelines to pipe the water in N Nevada to…wait for it….Las Vegas, where it is needed. The only people really complaining are the Indians and cowboys, who wanted to mine Potash and raise cattle.

    Now you should have “a light go on over your head.” What is potash used for? Exactly. Potash is an important input into conventional agriculture, which is also bad for the environment. So this use of water in NV and frying birds is a real “blinding flash” by a lot of dedicated minds in the BLM and environmental science movement to avert all of those terrible methane ghgs from cattle, and nitrous oxide from crops. Remember, co2 is not the only ghg. From the “best and the brightest.”

  51. Why would it use a lot of water? Crescent Dunes uses a dry cooling system to condense the steam.

  52. The working fluid is molten salt ( Seventy Million Pounds) that took 2 months to melt. — NOT WATER

    It will produce energy 24-7 –day and night — because of the massive heat sink that is created by the molten salt.

    • I’m anticipating “unforeseen” corrosion problems in that cooling system. Corrosion problems the management will be “surprised” at, but that the engineers understand are likely lurking throughout.

      • The salt is the thermal heat sink — it is separated from the steam cycle loop — and heats the steam through a heat exchanger. Alloys suitable for containing the likely NaNO3/KNO3 (60/40% wt) salt are well known in the literature.

        The steam turbine loop system is completely separate — and it is a DRY COOLED system — using air to condense the steam on the downstream side of the turbine; instead of needing cooling water.

    • The heat input side fluid is salt and the turbine side (output) of the heat exchanger loop is water/steam. You can’t drive a turbine with vaporized salt.

    • I presume the “molten” salt just became “molten” by it self? Can you tell me how much energy it takes to melt the salt and how environmentally safe this salt is in case of a spill? No sarc I am interested.

      • They melted it over the course of 2 months prior to main facility startup — a quick google of Tonopah and the tech behind it is quite informative.

        The salt is in a sealed system — it acts as a working fluid for the heat transfer to the closed loop DRY COOLED steam turbine.

        It is most likely a combination of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate — as developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratories – http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/57625.pdf

      • Karl

        They melted it over the course of 2 months prior to main facility startup — a quick google of Tonopah and the tech behind it is quite informative.

        The salt is in a sealed system — it acts as a working fluid for the heat transfer to the closed loop DRY COOLED steam turbine.

        Did you “count” all that fossil-fueled energy it took to melt the molten-salt in your “energy balance” for this ugly monstrosity against what it supposed to “save” in CO2 reductions?

        Did you “count” the fossil-fuel it took to refine, machine, erect and fabricate the steel, concrete and asphalt and gravel roads and foundations, and glass reflectors in your “energy balance” for this monstrosity across the desert?

        Did you “count” the fossil fuels that will be needed to wash, to maintain, and to dismantle and dispose of the non-recyclable masses of this monstrous not-too-efficient air-cooled assembly in the desert?

        Did you count the excess copper and steel and concrete and roads for the excess transmissions needed to locate this monstrous assembly far out in the desert where there is no “electrical need” save to politician’s donations from enviro’s and their Big Green donor classes to the democrat party?

        By the way, how are you going to dispose of the molten (deadly and very reactive!) salts? How are you going to re-melt these salts after every maintenance period? What is the (fossil-fueled) energy coming from to replace the solar-energy lost when the plant is down for maintenance ? Are you going to use even more of the precious water now stored (and evaporating) behind the Hoover Dam? That water is needed as well.

        Now, air-cooled steam plants are very, very inefficient compared to water-cooled condensers. More energy lost. And you do, indeed, need a considerable amount of makeup water out in the desert for the steam cycle itself, for washing the reflectors, for pouring the concrete foundations for all and for the maintenance of the plant over its lifetime. A massive waste of time, money, energy, and effort – just to fry birds! And harm the desert tortoise wildlife areas!

      • Why would you say non recyclable? Every single component of the plant is pretty much recyclable; from the silicon and rare earth metals in the solar panels, to the glass covers, to the aluminium frames, to the wiring to the electronic controls, to the piping, to the blacktop and concrete for the roads — and even the salt — which can be reused as fertilizer and/or a base for firearms and explosives.

        As a professional engineer you know all this — yet you are being disingenuous; perhaps you have an irrational bone to pick with new technologies.

        As a professional engineer you should also know that radionuclides don’t go away for a long time, and that Nuclear Power has only every really been a viable way to create fissionable daughter products for weapons (else why is Nuclear Power still subsidized cradle to grave 60 years after it’s inception?).

        PV will surpass every single other form of electricity production with the possible exception of Wind by 2050.

        Concentrated solar thermal has a bit more maturation, but so did every other power generation tech after initial commercialization — including nuclear.

        As far as need — Las Vegas is only 190 miles — a veritable small step as far as transmission lines go. Vegas needs every bit of electricity it can get.

        Cooling efficiency is not an issue, when the fuel is free (sunlight). What is important is that water is not uselessly wasted to condense the steam.

      • “”””””…..

        March 3, 2015 at 11:02 am


        They melted it over the course of 2 months prior to main facility startup — a quick google of Tonopah and the tech behind it is quite informative……”””””

        RAC, I believe they used the solar array to melt the salt. And if they didn’t they could have. So you run phase change heat pipes from the tower into the salt (come to think of it, that’s exactly what you have to do to run the damn thing.)

        So I don’t believe Tonopah uses ANY natural gas. The solar runs the whole thing. It’s actually a damn clever system design; it’s just the numbers that don’t make any sense, and of course the collateral damage as well.

        That is a natural for a solar thermal system, you can just gather the heat as it gets made (from solar radiation) ( come rain or shine), and once you get your tub of liquid working fluid, you are off and running. So this thing really is an interesting thermal engine, but of course, you have to plan for the longest inclement weather shut down of solar input so the salt doesn’t freeze again.

        It’s like those phase change eggs that you put in your coffee thermos, to cool your MacDonald’s hot coffee (180 F) down to 140, the phase change temperature, in a few minutes while the goop melts, and then it will keep the coffee at 140 F for 4 hours till the goop refreezes.

        Too bad it also makes reject Kentucky fried chicken (which tastes just like rattle snake).

      • No. You can’t do that. The array generates a very focused (literally!) beam of power into the collector. To MUST be cycling molten liquid through the collector BEFORE the sun’s rays hit the collectoer, or the thermal epansion – with no ability to “flow” or move the instantaneously-accumulated heat into the “solid” mass of a frozen collector will bust the collector pipes, screw up the local heat exchanger as it goes from frozen to partially-liquid to – completely-liquid-here-(locally, in one spot)-but-frozen-over-there-(next pipe over). That breaks the pipes, the collector and the joints holding the unit together.

        you’ve got to melt the whole liquid metal assembly, run the pumps through the whole assembly and collector before hitting it with the solar collector. To illustrate: How are you ever going to get the not-yet-molten-salts inside the pumps to flow through the still-cold-enough-to-freeze metal of the pipes if you only have heat applied up high in small areas of the collector?

      • Electric wraps with discrete individual electric controllers for each section of insulated pipe are more effective for heating than a “gas-burning” central furnace that can only heat up a single reactor. You’ve got hundreds of different individual components and pipes to individually heat up and maintain hot while other regions are still frozen. Imported (wasted or parasitic) electric power is the only realistic method.

  53. I am in favor of allowing people in California to bring part of their pay check out to the desert every week and throw it over the mirrors, instead of giving it to Google in a tax-payer-guaranteed loan for sustainable energy first. They can properly dispose of their money that way just as easily.

  54. Gaia giveth. Gaia taketh away. Those desert solar facilities are built on alluvial fans. Absent major structural diversions like levees and channels to keep the flood water away from the mirrors and power towers, they are all subject to being suddenly swept away by alluvial fan flooding. The Ivanpah facility is in eastern San Bernardino County. The following link is to: “Alluvial Fans of San Bernardino County. This video shows the history of flooding in San Bernardino County and the flood control technology that now allows for safe construction on alluvial fans.”

    Additional alluvial fan information from NASA (the part of NASA that does space work):

  55. It’s Nevada, The energy is sold to NV energy at $0.135 per KWh as part of a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement

  56. The thermal flux at any distance between the mirrors and the ‘boiler’ on the central tower has certainly been calculated for the full range of solar radiance conditions, making the avian ‘fryer’ hazard certainly known and accepted, before the system was ever built. They didn’t just ‘discover’ the problem now!

    Exquisite engineering run afoul, in service to the irrational ‘green’ agenda, makes me feel nauseous.

  57. “most of the streamers are floating trash or wayward insects…”

    The biologists out there must know that insects are a critical component in the food chain of any healthy desert ecosystem.

  58. “…I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari
    Tehachapi to Tonopah
    Spun every wind turbine that ever had a blade
    Praised every solar project that had ever been made
    And if you give me…
    Grants, cash and wine
    And you show where to sign
    I’ll be willin’
    To keep lyin'”

    with apologies to the late, great Lowell George and Little Feat.

    The song, Willin’ has been one my very favorites for 40 years. I always knew where Tucson and Tucumcari where but didn’t have clue about Tehachapi or Tonopah. Now it seems that Tehachapi is the center of rusting, failed wind projects and Tonopah will soon become the home of failed solar projects. Below is a link to the Commander Cody and His Lost Airmen version of Willin’. See how many analogies you can draw from the original song and the situation today.

  59. 1 buy land surrounding a solar thermal plant.
    2. build hotdog stand near employee entrance to the solar plant.
    3. build machine to fling hotdogs past the tower of the solar thermal plant and catch them on the other side.
    4. $$$$

  60. Some local entrepreneur might want to start a “venison” restaurant, from the sky to the plate!!

  61. @ Dr. Dave the uninformed:

    The Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm is 30 years old — the fact that any still produce at all is a testament to the engineering efforts of 1980s tech.

    Right next to Tehachapi is the Alta Wind Energy Center commissioned in 2010, as of 2013 the LARGEST WIND FARM IN THE WORLD @ 1320 MW nameplate.

    Development of Alta is scheduled to continue through 2019 with another 400 MW capacity to be installed.

    • Karl the Informed: Please inform me:

      1. How many of the wind mills at Tehachapi are 30 years old? 20+ years old? Can you inform me how long a windmill lasts before a replacement?

      2. The “Farm” has a respectable nameplate capacity. What was its utilization (an actually generated power as a percentage of a theoretical 24/7 power at a nameplate capacity) in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014?

      3. How many birds and bats got killed in each of those years?

      • If you are that interested I suggest you look up the information yourself.

        However, as far as ALTA which is in Tehachapi — Every single windmill is 2010 or newer.

        Newer windmills will last 25-30 years. And unlike Nuclear Plants they don’t create tons of waste that must be stored onsite and protected lest they be stolen and used by terrorists. Furthermore, livestock and crops do just fine underneath windmills — all over the Western US, Texas, and Midwest.

        People on this board scream about solar subsidies yet conveniently IGNORE the fact that the US Nuclear Power industry is subsidized from breaking ground to the fuel itself. Loans are subsidized, production is subsidized, and the manufacture of the fuel itself is subsidized.

        Worldwide Wind and PV are growing exponentially and have been for years. PV will eclipse Nuclear in Worldwide energy production no later than 2050 and likely sooner.

        West Texas windfarms average 28-30% Nameplate production annually — and wind CAN be used as baseload dependable power. Stanford University did a study regarding the interconnection of wind farms. At 100 meter hub height it is very, very, rarely NOT windy. And it is almost NEVER not windy across a set of multiple farms with thousands of turbines.

        More bats were killed by a fungus in the US last year than have been killed since commercial windfarms were started.

      • Karl says “The Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm is 30 years old — the fact that any still produce at all is a testament to the engineering efforts of 1980s tech.” Now he says that the oldest windmill is 5 years old. That’s definitely a testament – to Karl’s accuracy.

        Karl, I sort of like your way of shooting unsupported statements from your hip. YOU can not be bothered to look up the information yourself.

      • @ Curious Goerge

        Tehachapi Pass and ALTA are 2 separate wind farms — if you managed to read the thread you would know that.

        They are both however, in the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area.

        So I was absolutely correct.

      • Karl – you don’t provide data on Tehachapi. I appreciate your substitution of unrelated data. But two can play a game of unsupported statements. The utilization of Alta is 15% of the nameplate capacity.

  62. Currently The Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm has a nameplate capacity of only 705 MW — mainly because the turbines installed in the 80s, and 90s were KW rated not MW rated. As the turbines are replaced with new tech, the capacity and production will increase.

    It is highly probable that the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area will have a working nameplate capacity of 3000MW by 2020.

  63. “It’s no secret that solar power is hot right now” (from the top) Sorry, can’t believe no one picked that up.

    And the mirrors are flat, focal length infinate, so they could be redirected to other things. But no one would ever do that. As an old timer, I remember Solar One near Barstow. Mirror array to central tower, abandoned because of high operating cost. Then they tried “trench” arrays, long parabolic reflectors with an oil filled pipe at the focal point. Friend of mine wrote the tracking software. Which is what Bright Solar abandoned because of high operating cost …

  64. It just goes to show that birds are expendable when endangered species like CSP solar and DoE grant waste are concerned.

  65. All they need to do is to surround the solar array with wind turbines and they can chop and fry the birds all at the same time.

    Fast food oppurtunity!

    • How long before Ronco has an infomercial for their home version? 8-)

      (It slices! It dices! It fries without oil!….)

  66. yeah all the birds killed or maimed, along with the solar plants operation on natural gas for 5 hours a day is not considered in the cost benefit analysis, or the CO2 analysis though I am sure they negotiated 100% “carbon offset” credits for the full nameplate capacity of this “clean” and “green” power generator. I wonder at what price point for electricity the “green” folks are going to start to rebel against the insanity and lies of the “green team”? I am sure some folks in the very cold regions are already feeling the pinch on their wallets though I am not sure they will be able to connect the dots between the President’s “energy prices must necessarily sky-rocket..” comment and his policies which are doing just that.

    uhg… rant off/


  67. Nothing new here, they had the same problem at Solar 1 a couple decades ago.

    The glowing dust from the concentrated sunlight attracts moths, and the birds follow the moths. I stood at solar one and watch little streaks of smoke several times a minute from moths, and every 5-15 minutes a larger one from a bird. That is the story of every large concentratot array.

  68. Global Warming Generator also doubles as an endangered species exterminator.
    Ahhh. Progress.

    • Black Crack, you have confused subsidies with tax policy. Subsidies are for green energy and Democratic contributors, not oil and gas.
      From Forbes
      “So how did all of this misinformation get started? It all began in 2009. Within days of being sworn in as the nation’s 44th President, Barack Obama ordered his staff to scour the tax code for any provision that was relevant to the oil and gas industry, and promptly began proposing them for repeal. The oil and gas industry has always been an easy target for political demagoguery, and that dynamic has played out repeatedly and consistently in this Administration.”

      “Unfortunately, most media outlets and reporters have chosen to basically repeat the Administration’s mantra that these tax treatments – several of which have been in the tax code for almost a century – are somehow unique, specific to the oil and gas industry, and are “subsidies” for “big oil”. A great example of just how inaccurate this depiction is applies to Percentage Depletion, which has been a feature of the tax code since 1913, meaning it will be a full century old this year.” FYI the oil depletion allowance mentioned in your link was discontinued in 1975 for large oil companies although it is brought up anyway to fool the uninformed.

      I assume you know that the Democratic Senators on that Bill are the worst offenders when it comes to spending us into debt. They gave us the wasteful Trillion dollar stimulus, which was like Christmas for bundlers and unions, including stupid things like turtle tunnels which did nothing to help the economy. Also these same Senators gave us the very expensive Obamacare, and they have been a big part of increasing the national debt to 18 Trillion dollars. Clearly they are not honest when they discuss subsidies for fossil fuels. They support their leader who has the biggest carbon footprint in the world while hating carbon fuels while enjoy extensive use in their private and public life. The claims on subsidies for fossil fuels is false. Do you know that Oil and gas companies are the biggest contributor to the treasury after income tax and their proposals to eliminate deductions include deductions normally allowed for every other industry.
      How much tax did green energy pay to the treasury?.

    • Black Crack
      You are confused. Subsidies are not depletion. Depletion is an accounting used by all industries involved in the utilization of natural resources whether oil and gas, minerals, timber, aggregates such as sand and gravel. The depletion accounting is similar to depreciation of capital assets calculated for determining tax liabilities.
      Note that ALL extractive industries utilize depletion accounting, not just oil and gas.

      So why target oil and gas? Because there are the types who love to hate the industry; the foam-at-the-mouth enviros

  69. We just need some windmills and we can have pre-cooked poultry filets.
    There was an old pun book called “Games for Insomniacs”. In it, it talks about a member of the press announcing “I’m brown from the Sun”.
    Better than burning heretics.

    • Try turning around when you are nonchalantly flying along at, say, 20mph, minding your own business and, then, in an instant, you are vaporised. Zzzzzttt!

    • The surface of the Sun is almost 11,000 degrees F, and this is the actual temperature the birds will encounter when flying through the concentrated flux from the mirrors. Turning around, not an option, the heating is virtually instantaneous. Without nuclear reactions/powerful lasers it is difficult to achieve this temperature anywhere on our planet, any other way. Your nine-year-old with a magnifying glass, scarier than you might think…

      • Well the actual sun image is about twice the area of each flat plate mirror, and likely three times the projected area as seen from the sun, and the mirrors use maybe 10% of the total solid angle of the whole array.

        So I don’t see this array ever getting anywhere near the sun surface Temperature of 6,000 K or 11,000 deg, F in your world. If it got anywhere near there, the birds would be instantly vaporized instead of steamed.

        I haven’t done the calculation, but I think it probably doesn’t exceed 1,000 K.

  70. Go ahead and keep pissing the money away… /S


    I hope that the audubon society is proud of itself between this and the wind turbine debacle.

    On that note, all of those jobs that were outsourced to other countries over the last decade has been disastrous and now they have the gall to raise taxes because revenue has fallen and they keep giving their cronies more. We have Solyndra/Evergreen Solar et.al and an absolutely incompetent crony government that cannot see the forest for the trees. This has been an abject failure. Our jobs have been lost, yet those illegal immigrants need jobs and are given preferential treatment above and beyond even our own veterans, (so does ISIS/ISIL). They are all entitled to get refunds while we struggle and get (insert expletive here). This global warming bullshit (including all those NGO’s like 350 org who study AGW in war zones, protected by Academi (formerly Blackwater), needs to be stopped. This dog and pony show is destroying what was a great nation (and others too). Enough is enough.

  71. So sad, just how many times do you have to make clear, these plants do not work, do not produce nameplate capacity nor cheap electricity. Just how many times do you have to do simple calculations, summing capital cost. land cost, water coat, maintenance cost, transmission cost, backup cost and divide by power produced


    The Mojave Desert plant, built with the aid of a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee, kicked off commercial operation at the tail end of December 2013, and for the eight-month period from January through August, its three units generated 254,263 megawatt-hours of electricity, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. That’s roughly one-quarter of the annual 1 million-plus megawatt-hours that had been anticipated.



    • They’re not solar PV panels, they’re mirrors. This is a thermal solar power plant that melts salt and that’s used to produce steam for steam turbines.

  72. The BBC reported project is a rehash of a project going back to at least 1976, the Severn barrage. The new model splits it into “lagoons” ( name, envision, get the picture) but triples the cost and lowers the efficiency. Yet despite this, it is not 24/7 power nor is it an efficient water turbine design system, just a rehash of windmills underwater. no groundbreaking science or thought there.

  73. Why not turn a liability into a feature? Open up a fried poultry store next door. Mmmm, extra crispy!

  74. “US Fish and Wildlife Service officials are now waiting for a death toll for a full year of operation at the Ivanpah plant.

    What ever happened to the precautionary principle?

  75. Heartfelt appeal.

    Can we please have a simple paper, showing the economics of Ivanpah and a competitive gas plant of the same actual nameplate capacity. This needs to be published here and somewhere else high profile and google indexed and promoted.

    I have done back of envelope calculations and come up with four times the cost of gas, not counting, transmission cots, profit, non 24/7, I.E. hidden back up costs. The return on capital employed is so low that even if they get their 500 million cash subsidy, they will hurt rapidly to extinction, long before the birds hopefully.

    WUWT is replete with scientists, mathematicians and accountants well able to do a text book presentation.

    • This Article is about Tonopah, not Ivanpah;

      It’s not a cash subsidy it was a subsidized LOAN — just like Nuclear Plants get.

      They sell the power to NV energy @ 13.5 cents per KWh.

      • Karl

        This link (http://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/) lists Nevada retail kWh price at 8.5 cents ($0.085). You state Tonopah solar kWh will be sold to (presumably) Nevada utilities at $0.135/kWh (utilities have additional cost – billing, power line charges, profit, etc) before delivering to the retail consumer. I see three options:

        1) Retail solar kWh at roughly $0.15 (includes utility mark-up), which is 77% higher than the current $0.085/kWh average. The actual rate would be blended with cheaper power, but the incremental solar would still be $0.15)
        2) Sell to suckers in some higher-cost state – but only Connecticut & Hawaii have kWh rates above $0.15/kWh.
        3) Subsidize the retail cost with (more) taxpayer funds.

        My bet is on option #3.

      • You mean subsidize it like the rate hikes by the Utilities Commissions whenever a utility wants to build a new Nuclear Plant — subsidies like that? See Maryland for the new Calvert Cliffs Reactor and Florida for the new 2 reactor plant (can’t remember the name)

        Or subsidies like the federally guaranteed insured loans for ~$10 Billion for 1 Nuclear Reactor?

        Or the subsidies for the actual production of nuclear fuel rods — fuel made by a company that is in essence an FFRDC Federally Funded Research and Development Company.

        Subsidies like those?

        Or do you mean something else?

      • BTW Chip it is a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement @ 13.5 cents per KWh. Maybe a bit high on the front end — but based on recent electricity inflation rates — it is parity in about 5-7 years.

        Or, since grids are interconnected and CA power is unregulated — they could sell it at the average retail price of CA power.

        Not to mention that that table includes major industrial customers that skew the numbers. My parents live in MD and pay over 15 cents per KWh — yet it says 11.9.

        My base Kwh rate is more than 1 cent higher than the average listed for my state.

  76. Just think of all the motors, at least 2 per mirror, and all the materials, land, cabling, control systems to track the sun and manage that many mirrors, can only operate when there is sun, as well as the cabling to connect the power to the grid. Putting aside the fat these are wildlife killers on a large scale, it an huge waste of resources!

    Conventional caol/gas fired power stations will occupy an area not much bigger than the center of this site and produce more reliable power, 24 x 7. Insanity!

    • 1. It is not a wildlife killer on a large scale — that’s just plain bollocks.
      2. Ever been to that part of Nevada? — its sunny pretty much every day.
      3. The SEVENTY MILLION POUND molten salt heat sink (working heat transfer fluid) has an 11 hour post sundown production capacity — so it actually does produce power when the sun is not shinning.

      You guys should really get a little more educated before you throw stones at what you don’t know.

      • Karl, do you happen to know at what fraction of the peak daytime heat generation capacity (MW) they run it at night for that 11 hour cushion. They are probably going to operate at some peak MW capacity that eventually they can keep going at 24 hours a day, so it would be less than the peak daytime solar megawatts.

        The phase change thermal store is really a clever idea, and if they do have the corrosion chemistry well in hand, the maintenance need not be a big headache.

        A couple of my high school chums worked in molten salt technology here in the States, and that was 50 years ago. Far as I know it wasn’t for thermal storage, but probably molten salt fuel cells.

        It really is a cool way to solve the intermittency problem. Their salt tank is like the Grand Coulee Dam storage lake. They really can run it in a supply and demand load mode just like hydros do.

        Well I still think it’s a boondoggle, and the collateral damage may not be solvable, but they will probably get a lot of good engineering data from playing with it.

        And yes it is streets ahead of Ivanpah, and that other earlier one.


  77. Are people stupid?

    Conventional power stations – hydro electricity, gas, coal and nuclear power stations – are cost effective, efficient and reliable, and produce a constant amount of electricity that makes for a well managed electricity grid system.

    The renewable energy industry, using solar and wind technology, is anything but cost effective, efficient and reliable. No matter how much this industry is talked up, the key flaw with such renewables is that humans cannot control the sunshine and clouds, nor can humans control the wind. The renewable energy data from Germany shows why solar and wind energy is not viable.

    • Neither solar nor wind technologies are renewable. Only the driver (e.g. heating, light, convection) are renewable. And the technologies are certainly not “green” throughout their life cycle from recovery to reclamation. The marketing of “green” products and services has done a disservice to properly assessing their value and placement.

    • Then why are countries (outside the US and Europe) that don’t have solar and wind subsidies NOT building Nuclear, but are INSTEAD building new WIND and SOLAR like gangbusters?

      WInd is a weibull distribution with respect to both whether there is any — and what the velocity is. It is quite easy to calculate the annual capacity as a % of nameplate for a wind farm.

      Records of sunny days over decades are very consistent WRT the US southwest and other places in the world that are good Solar Resource Areas.

      Offshore winds are fairly constant year round and daily — at many places — that is what site surveys are for. Stanford University has ublished a paper showing that Wind CAN be used as dependable baseload power by interconnecting several windfarms. google it

      WIND is more cost effective per MWh than COAL Advanced GAS or NUCLEAR

      The Levelized Cost of Electricity (what it really costs to build a plant and produce electricity) for Onshore WIND is cheaper than GAS COAL and Nuclear

      WIND = 80.3
      GAS = Advanced Combined Cycle with CCS 91.3
      GAS = Conventional Combustion Turbine = 128.4
      GAS = Advanced Combustion Turbine = 103.8
      COAL Conventional / IGCC/ IGCC with CCS = 95.4 / 115.9 / 147.4
      NUCLEAR = 96.1

      $ per MWh


      (before you say that wind doesn’t blow all the time — they controlled for that with a 35% capacity factor which is what newer wind farms in good resource areas are producing)

      • Karl

        Then why are countries (outside the US and Europe) that don’t have solar and wind subsidies NOT building Nuclear, but are INSTEAD building new WIND and SOLAR like gangbusters?

        Such lenders now under the firm socialist and enviro-CAGW-control of the World Bank and EMF REFUSE to lend money for anything other than partially-productive (17% of the time!) solar and wind. You take what you can get, if you have nothing at all without it.

        These same groups refuse to lend money for dams and hydro-power. Though the Chinese are beginning to assist for those in their neo-colonial African empire of resources and mines and oil fields – all at the expense of the newly-re-enslaved Africans of course.

        Politicians (and the enviro’s who control the world’s liberal and democrat and socialist politicians and their energy management and electrical and environmental bureaucracies) control what is built and where. Enviro’s control what areas are released for new power lines (it took 15 years for one short line to built on the west slope of the Appalachians for example). Electric power companies have used the last 8 years of lower consumer demand and industrial demand to “eat up” the reserve capacity that they used to have, and to serve that against the regulatory cushion of “no-useful-production approvals.”

      • The above projections are based on the following:

        “Under the assumption that current laws and regulations remain unchanged throughout the projections, the AEO2014 Reference case provides the basis for examination and discussion of energy production, consumption, technology, and market trends and the direction they may take in the future. It also serves as a starting point for analysis of potential changes in energy policies.”

        So, I paraphrase: Based on the regulatory preference towards wind, and the giant hammer used against gas, coal, and nuclear, we have decided that wind power will be cheaper.

        Our head policy maker has stated that will make coal to expensive to utilize…. We all know what a regulatory expense it would be to try for nuclear. I haven’t looked into gas, but there is no reason to believe that the listed costs are so high because government regulations and lack of subsidy are applied.

        The numbers are not cooked, but they are massaged to reflect desired outcome.

        Karl, it appears that you have made an emotional decision and you will believe anything that supports your emotional outlook.

  78. I don’t consider this a major problem. First, I’m pretty certain these problems can be reduced by doing what airports do to avoid birds.
    And the rest can be left up to evolution: birds with instinctive fear of the tower will have greater chances of surviving. Painting the tower a distinctive and unnatural color – e.g. orange – might help the process.

    There are many birds killed by various pieces of human technology. Nobody counts birds killed in collisions with cars, birds falling down factory smokestacks, birds killed by harvesting machines, etc. etc. This is just an example of case where it’s particularly easy to observe.

  79. If you want wind mills use them for pumping water, as intermittency is not a problem, if solar is your passion use it to heat water. In isolation solar panels can charge batteries, but do not ask me to subsidise your solar panels on your roof, our through my taxes pay for exorbitant wind turbine power. Bird killers, now this wonderful new, blind the Astronauts in space solar crap, more subsidises more bird killers. Do the powers that be realise that people want heat and power at night, when the sun does not shine and oft the wind doth not blow. Idiots all.

      • The above referenced website projections are based on the following:

        “Under the assumption that current laws and regulations remain unchanged throughout the projections, the AEO2014 Reference case provides the basis for examination and discussion of energy production, consumption, technology, and market trends and the direction they may take in the future. It also serves as a starting point for analysis of potential changes in energy policies.”

        So, I paraphrase: Based on the regulatory preference towards wind, and the giant hammer used against gas, coal, and nuclear, we have decided that wind power will be cheaper.

  80. ““By the time the test ended for the day at 3:00 p.m., biologists had counted 130 such “streamers.” A subsequent test on January 15 reduced the number of mirrors aimed at the focal point above the tower, said Evenson, and that apparently ended the injuries to birds.””

    Or, the reason they want to average it out over a year is…*drumroll* after you kill off 90% of the bird population in the area the numbers are pretty much going to drop to nothing. They’ll then rationalize it as “There’s an initial spike in bird deaths, but this levels off rapidly as animals adjust.”

  81. wait a minute are these solar arrays on the migratory path of monarch butterflys? Oh the inhumanity! Quick! Plant some noxious weeds somewhere else so the butterflys will go there instead! Fish and Game will send you the seeds so you can do your part in saving the butterfly!

  82. These things are now mushrooming up over isolated but well insolated and subsidized parts of South Africa. I’m sure our streamer count will be archived under a suitably secret act.

    I was intrigued by how these solar panel arrays resemble Crop Circles, very attractive in a Lysergic sort of way, rather ingenious, and unequally useless.

    Then I realized, of course, to create a crop circle only requires a smidgen of the
    resources consumed by a solar array.

    All you need for a decent crop circle is a nicely un-cropped field of cereals on the way,
    some rope, some board, some flashlights, a van, a motley crue of drunken students,
    and one sober quantity surveyor. You don’t really need any birds, or streamers.

    The solar arrays seem like more permanent monuments to some bewildering obscure
    passion, like post-modern Nazca geoglyphs, or towering Moai glowing with terribly hot Epsom’s

    Some one will have the sad task of composing a new Flight of the Bumblebee for
    Modern Times

    • From the link:

      “Update, Feb. 2, 2012: In a statement to FactCheck.org, Ron Pelosi also said that “the loan the company received had nothing to do with me.” He added that he “knew nothing regarding their proposed or actual transactions,” and “did not speak with any person in connection with their plans.” He said that “those who say I did are attempting to smear Nancy Pelosi and me for their own political purposes.”

      Pelosi also provided us with email correspondence between him and David Fann, the former president and CEO of PCG Asset Management, indicating that he was only to receive $25,000 annually as a member of the company’s board of directors.”

      I would love to be a board member where I know nothing, and get paid $25,000 per year!!

  83. I have a funny feeling we are going to find Clinton fingerprints all over this project. And probably Harry Reid too

  84. Hi Everyone!
    How about re-purposing this monstrosity as a Satellite Killer?
    Got a foreign satellite you don’t like….ZAP!
    (Oh I forgot, Zippy is all FOR this Chinese, Russians, Iranians & North Koreans having satellites!)/sarc off

  85. If this is true, what happens to planes or missiles. Solar thermal is OK,(we think, if they can generate during the night, some in Australia were thinking of using methane) but – ask Richard Courtney, he wrote about the hazards attached to this huge solar contractions.

  86. Has anyone bothered to notice that the author of this article is ‘condemning’ one site but using a reference to another site to justify that ‘condemnation’?

  87. Somewhere over the rainbow
    Bluebirds fry
    Birds fry, over the rainbow
    Watch them burn in the sky.

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