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”


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Gore lied, birds fry

Well, it’s Global (local) warming for birds and other tresspassers.


Indeed. It’s the message warm-mongers have for humanity… “this is the end, [our] only friend, the end”


I think its actually “ruh roh”…


I count this as victory for truth justice and what not.

Calls for celebration.

george e. smith

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

Mac the Knife

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.


And it runs on tequila bio-ethanol.

george e. smith

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.


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.

george e. smith

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’…

Jon Doe

His goose is cooked….. As it were!


Great quote

george e. smith

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.

The Green version of “burn, baby, burn?”


That, sir, is genius on many levels.

Or … where there’s Green there’s smoke …

Mike M

A pity that pigs don’t fly.

Leo Smith

[Snip. A step too far – mod]

Mary Kay Barton

[The comment you referred to has been snipped, so this one is no longer relevant. mod]

Alan Robertson

“Like” buttons effectively become a means to distort and control the free exchange of ideas.


[Snip. A step too far – mod]


[Snip. OTT – mod]

Michael D

Please don’t say things that could be interpreted as a death-wish against people we disagree with. I presume your comments are not malevolence but rather witticisms but we criticize the Warmers for their statements about death-penalties for deniers, so we must hold ourselves to a similar standard..
[Thanks for this comment. The ones to which you refer have been snipped. mod]

Sun Spot

Given adequate propulsion pigs do fly, it’s the landing that is the issue.


Fetchez la vache!

Just an engineer




george e. smith

Bacon is just scraps of meat tied together with lard.
A complete waste of time and effort. Almost as pointless an exercise, as trying to extract edible meat out of a Dungeness crab.


Ah! Bacon, meat candy.

Wonder what PETA will have to say about this?

tom s


Alan Robertson

Nothing. Not a peep. Not one damned thing.


“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’.

Bill Treuren

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.


Have they tried mounting a scarecrow atop the tower?


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!

george e. smith

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…

Retired Engineer Jim

Or the Audubon Society?


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.

The Audubon Society seems to be trying to become a mini Nature Conservancy. If you want the Audubon of old, e.g. getting bent out of shape about a sea gull cull to return some land it piping plovers, talk to the American Bird Conservancy. http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/collisions/index.html


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.

You are more of a conservationist than any of the supporters of this ridiculous project. I doff my hat to you.

Not being content with killing wildlife by slicing them up, now they incinerate them too! All of these things are “Green”? I don’t think so


If they could only work out how to pluck them in mid air they could open a fast food joint as well.

Jim Ward

There have also been incidents where pilots are nearly blinded since to cut down the power if it gets too hot on the tower, they aim some of the reflectors away from the tower. That bright reflection is out there waiting for an airplane to fly through it.

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 😉


I’ll take two please… do you deliver?

Mike Bryant

I capture a whiff of fowl play…


“I capture a whiff of fowl play”
Burning feathers are a nasty smell.

tom s

Oh little song bird….POOF!!

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.

Alan Robertson


Owen in GA

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?

Leonard Lane

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?

Bohdan Burban

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


Fossil fuels to the rescue!
Ivanpah uses natural gas in auxiliary boilers to keep up heat at night and on cloudy days. The plant is not working as expected and was approved to use 60 percent more natural gas than was allowed under the plant’s certification.

Joe Crawford

How are Google and the other investors in Ivanpah coming with their request for a $50 billion government bailout?


It is a molten salt system not water. Molten salts can be stored in insulated tanks and then used for later heat recovery


At night they could concentrate moon beams!


@ noaaprogrammer, not sure if moonbeam’s still in Sacramento, but he’s had a lot of trouble concentrating…. 🙂

Leonard Lane

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.

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.

Alan Robertson

“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.”

Owen in GA

My cat has yet to catch and kill a condor or an eagle (though he may dream big).


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!)

Stevan Makarevich

“(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…

JJM Gommers

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.


I think my sarcasm filter just plugged. 😉


Some may have read Robert Bryce’s testimony from a year ago last Feb. One rule for some and one for another.

“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?


(Another wasted effort by a banned sockpuppet. Comment DELETED. -mod)

Alan Robertson

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…”


(Another wasted effort by a banned sockpuppet. Comment DELETED. -mod)

Alan Robertson

@ 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?


(Another wasted effort by a banned sockpuppet. Comment DELETED. -mod)


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?

At least until the birds blinded in flight which didn’t combust tried to land out of shear exhaustion.


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.

James Strom

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.


(Another wasted effort by a banned sockpuppet. Comment DELETED. -mod)


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.


(Another wasted effort by a banned sockpuppet. Comment DELETED. -mod)


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.


(Another long, wasted effort by a banned sockpuppet. Comment DELETED. -mod)


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.


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@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)

Bob Boder

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.


(Another wasted effort by a banned sockpuppet. Comment DELETED. -mod)


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.


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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…

How much to clean the mirrors of bird droppings? (Another “Green” job)


…or dropping birds?


And dropping birds.


When enough droppings accumulate, it looks like one of the “shovel ready” situations promised by the administration 6 years ago!

Obama just announced a program to train 50,000 veterans as “solar technicians”. Does he mean “window washers”?


That, or weed mowers.

Alan Robertson

“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.


After the last bird fries, the rate of kill levels off.

Jeff Mitchell

The dead birds are their sacrificial offering to Gaia. Its a religion, remember?


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.

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?


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.

Crispin in Waterloo

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.

Joe Crawford

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.

Leonard Lane

Nice post Ralfellis, and contains a lot of truth as well as a grin.

Pamela Gray

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

Can these things be weaponized?

Fox From Melbourne

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.

Tim W.

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.


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.

Alan Robertson

Of course. The pages of every environmentalist or leftist/statist blog on the planet are filled with such rationalizations.


“Many responded that the deaths were necessary for ‘research’ ”
I bet Japan’s whaling fleet would like to hear that?
” and they mentioned the number of birds killed flying into buildings.”
I feel the energy efficient low e coatings on our windows is responsible for quite an alarming number of bird strikes.

Ulrich Elkmann

Many responded that the deaths were necessary for ‘research’
We’ll murder them amid laughter and merriment
Except for the few we take home to Experiment – Tom Lehrer, once more.


On the same day as this post we have this from NTZ on bat deaths via ‘exploding’ lungs. Where is the WWF when you need them? Busy promoting wind turbines

Growing “Swept Area” Of Annihilation…Study Points To Wind Turbines’ Barotraumatic Mayhem Of Bats
Bats do not even need to come into contact with the moving blades. It is enough for them to be close to the end of a moving blade to become victims of barotrauma. As the turbine’s blade slices by at 300 km/hr, the negative pressure in the blade’s wake causes the air in the bats’ lungs to expand and incur lethal injury….



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?


Are KFC interested?

JJM Gommers

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

From their website:
Tower Height:
540 ft

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.

View from the Solent

Nope. A nuclear plant operates 24/7.


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.

Crispin in Waterloo

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.

General P. Malaise

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

Bill Illis

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

Alan Robertson

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


Are there any renewables that do not kill birds?

Ivor Ward

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.


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.

Alan Robertson

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

Owen in GA

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.

“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.

Bohdan Burban

” …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.

DD More

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.


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.


Thank goodness for cheap shale gas!


Slice and fry -avian fries for a tasty treat to cool the heat.

Uh Clem

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?

Mike M

Coupled with a new “common core” initiative to teach birds how to read NOTAM’s.

Billy Liar

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.

Chris Clarke at KCET has a good series of articles on concentrating solar power at Ivanpah, Tonopah is new, try


Did they ever approve the re-naming of Ivanpah to Icarus? Made sense to me.


Beat me to it.

No fair Marnof a very large number of greens are scrambling to google what in the heck an Icarus is!


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


And who is going to write “Silent Spring” this time?


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….


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

Mike M

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.

D Caldwell

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).

D Caldwell

Thought it was sufficiently absurd to be obvious.
Sorry. I was being sarcastic.


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

Mike M

“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!

Reblogged this on "Mothers Against Wind Turbines™" Phoenix Rising… and commented:
Solar power tower causes an est. 130 birds to be killed or injured during test run…

Mike M

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?

Political Junkie

No need to bring lunch!


The birds are unimportant. They didn’t vote for Democrats.


Maybe the dead ones will.

Bell Phillips

Milk came out my nose!

Leonard Lane

Shhhhh! tadchem. If people knew how many warblers, rats, ground hogs, and skunks vote for Democrats there might be a recount every 49 years or so.

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.

Mike M

Off color … “The Hobby” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j56hhPyEz-g

Bohdan Burban

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

Brian H

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.

george e. smith

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.

Mike M

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

Billy Liar

Here’s a shot from a plane 30-40 miles away from Ivanpah (half way down the page). You can see the bright glare from the 3 towers in the distance.
Bad news also for ’emsnews’ up-thread (emsnews March 2, 2015 at 6:15 am). She’d better give up flying pronto if she’s scared of radiation – 10 times as much at 39,000ft as there is at ground level.

Brian H

No such photo. Sunspots and coronas only.

Coach Springer

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.


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……

Mike M

They’re already deep into the hopper on efficiency – https://www.biggreenradicals.com/solar-plant-we-need-more-natural-gas/

Coach Springer

Tell me the one about banning DDT to save the birds again.

Way to give Gaia the bird.


This bird frying problem has an obvious solution:
Operate the plant at night when the birds are not flying!

Joe Crawford

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.


ROTFLMAO … too good for words! But the bats ?