California solar power plants ignite birds mid flight

Finally, some mainstream media coverage~ctm


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March 17, 2019 5:15 pm

not a bad job CBS but why didn’t they show an actual “Streamer?”

Reply to  Matthew W
March 17, 2019 5:54 pm

And lend shocking, heart rending, factual horrors of animal deaths ? Like all those weepy SPCA advertisements asking for donations? With sad-faced, trampling, emaciated, dogs in cages? Nahhhhh that would be too effective. Too revealing.

And BTW … the absolute saddest thing for me was to see the final images of the pristine Joshua Tree Forest and breathtaking desert scenery that was scheduled to be bulldozed and covered with garage-door-sized mirrors … hundreds of thousands of them.

And when will the Kewl, millennial hipsters at CBS reveal the TRUTH about how these projects ACTUALLY work as opposed to their “idealized” output. When will they interview someone other than the PR spokesman working for the “renewable” power plant?

Reply to  Kenji
March 18, 2019 2:04 am

After years of pretending these “streamers” were insects, the truth is getting some air time.

Why haven’t bird repellent measures already been installed? It was known that this was a problem withing the first 6mo of operation.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Greg
March 18, 2019 7:29 am

It should have been known during the architectural and design stages. Wouldn’t suprise me if several of the design engineers brought it up at that time and were shot down by management. Probably didn’t want to spend the money or announce it as a problem. I wonder if that same management is still around, or they’ve already bailed out before being held responsible.

Joel O’Bryan
March 17, 2019 5:15 pm

Simply Sacrifices to the Climate Change pagan religion.
A pagan religions that offer a relative moral structure where any atrocity or harm can be justified. There are absolute wrongs.

Jimmy Haigh
March 17, 2019 5:17 pm

900 degrees, eh? Does that heat up the atmosphere?

Lank likes it warm
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh
March 17, 2019 8:33 pm

A good site for an alarmist to locate a weather station!
This single location could account for a several degree temperature increase when averaged over the US for the year. This ‘natural’ phenomena is a sure sign that our temperature is spiraling out of control!

John Brisbin
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh
March 18, 2019 9:37 am

California Costco stores already have solar panels on the roof, so they could switch to ‘heliostats’ and shorten the lines that appear each day in front of the chicken roasters. Crisis averted!

Jimmy Haigh
March 17, 2019 5:38 pm
Carl Friis-Hansen
March 17, 2019 5:39 pm

Not sure if it is just my computers, but nothing happens when I click on the video, so here is a link alternative:

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
March 17, 2019 5:48 pm

‘This project will fuel 140,000 California homes.’

At night? Not just birds on fire, that guys pants are on fire.

Gary Wescom
Reply to  Gamecock
March 17, 2019 8:04 pm

Yep, never an actual daily KWH output from the plant. Only its maximum capacity under optimum conditions.

Reply to  Gary Wescom
March 18, 2019 2:01 am

Note that the PR guy carefully avoids a reply which involves any scientific units, only answering with meaningless, unverifiable “California homes” units of measurement.

Reply to  Greg
March 18, 2019 10:43 am

does that include the CA homes of Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, et al?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Gamecock
March 19, 2019 4:44 am

The question asked was, “How much power does a panel produce?”. It was never answered. There are two answers: the amount it might produce if the generating system worked properly all the time, and the amount it actually produces.

Both are irrelevant in the sense that a “California home” is undefined. Maybe he means a future tiny Home. Who knows?

It is telling that they report the birds as “having their wings damaged” not “bursting into flames” as is the actual case. A video would have been easy enough to get. There is one every few minutes at certain times of the day.

Did he also fail to remember that the “renewable solar powered generation system” runs on natural gas for the first few hours of every day? I thought so. It doesn’t reduce CO2 emissions, it displaces emissions to the middle of a desert where I suppose they need the extra heat.

Bryan A
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
March 17, 2019 8:40 pm

And the potential blinding effect on airline pilots
Crescent Dunes

lord garth
March 17, 2019 5:40 pm

if all they killed were starlings and pigeons and crows it would not be a big deal

however, the taller windmills do a number on the prestige species like eagles and hawks

the number of bird fatalities nationwide from solar and wind power are pretty small (well below 1%) compared to the total number of bird fatalities

Jim M
Reply to  lord garth
March 17, 2019 8:36 pm

It isn’t the number of birds it is they type. The birds of prey are the ones most hurt by solar concentrating plants and windmills. Eagles, hawks, and other large birds are the most affected. Normally the top of the avian food chain they are now prey to blades and solar zappers.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  lord garth
March 17, 2019 10:56 pm

The soaring birds actually enjoy recirculating through the draft from the windmills so they commonly repass until they are struck down. They still put out the BS that the chance of a bird being struck is equal to the chance that the bird and the blade occupy the same space at the same time assuming one pass through.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 18, 2019 10:51 am

There are companies that are paid to go to the wind turbine sites to pick up the dead birds . I would guess they are bound by contract not to tell anyone how many they pick up The number is NOT small ! !


Reply to  lord garth
March 18, 2019 5:40 am

100,000 admitted by windturbines is NOT a small number considering the area of the kills.
if anyone else anywhere else killed that many?
the only larger killer would be cats id guess?

Joe Crawford
Reply to  ozspeaksup
March 18, 2019 7:33 am

Here in the U.S. you can spend time in the slammer (i.e., go to jail) for killing an eagle.

Reply to  Joe Crawford
March 18, 2019 8:39 am

Unless the President grants you an indulgence as Pres O’Bama granted the Wind industry, Allowing them to kill a good protion of the Golden Eagle population in Cali.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Bill Marsh
March 18, 2019 11:59 am

Wonder how much that one cost?

Reply to  lord garth
March 18, 2019 3:18 pm

The report said 100,000 birds killed by wind generators every year. That ain’t chopped liver when nearly all of them are large raptors.

March 17, 2019 5:42 pm

Currently CA is experiencing an explosion of migrating Painted Lady butterflies.

All the news stories I’ve seen to date have only mentioned them being in SoCal so I don’t know if they are migrating thru the same area the solar plants are in. I was in Barstow a few weeks ago and saw thousands of them migrating so I wouldn’t be surprised it they aren’t that far north too. If they are too bad for them.

Donald Kasper
Reply to  Kevin
March 17, 2019 6:15 pm

The Monarchs are being exterminated and Greens with thumbs up their asses don’t have a clue where they all went.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Donald Kasper
March 17, 2019 10:57 pm


Reply to  Donald Kasper
March 18, 2019 6:32 am

There’s a lot less milkweed nationwide than there used to be. People have been making the land more weed-free (wildflower-free) than it used to be.

Reply to  Kevin
March 17, 2019 6:16 pm

My daughter drove from her home in Dana Point to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree this weekend … to see the desert wildflower bloom … and she saw gorgeous waterfalls, swollen creeks and cascades everywhere (sent some lovely photos) … and … an explosion of butterflies … everywhere. It is simply spectacular. A butterfly invasion.

So, let’s pave it all over with garage door sized mirrors. Hundreds of thousands of them. All it takes to power your home is ONE garage door sized mirror. It sounds wonderful! So Magic! And it’s all being put in the “wasteland” of remote desert. Who cares about the destruction?

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Kenji
March 17, 2019 8:13 pm

The wife & two adult children are in Southern CA and sent photos today of the super bloom along I-15. Traffic was at a near stand-still on a Sunday with all the sightseers. Beautiful to see LA with a backdrop of snow-covered mountains.

Reply to  Kenji
March 18, 2019 1:05 am

And how many office blocks, factories, street lighting, trains, electric cars, hospitals etc.etc.

Jeff Mitchell
March 17, 2019 5:59 pm

The video appears to be from 2014. I read that the solar power plants had solved the problem in the last couple years. Dunno if that is true. I don’t know if there is an update on the wind turbines, but if the numbers are accurate, the loss at solar plants is a drop in the bucket.

Donald Kasper
Reply to  Jeff Mitchell
March 17, 2019 6:13 pm

You solve the problem of incineration by turning the plants off.

Reply to  Donald Kasper
March 17, 2019 6:22 pm

No! You blare airhorns 24/7 at ear bleed decibels to scare them away. Oh! And fly drones! Drones are kewl and edgy … so hip, so “new” so “fresh” … let’s say we’ll use … drones too!

Reply to  Kenji
March 18, 2019 5:42 am

what temp does a drone melt at???

March 17, 2019 6:05 pm

@NRG CEO forgot to mention this Ivanpah solar plant runs on natural gas 5 hours a day. CA CARB doesn’t count these emissions because it’s a “solar” plant–get it?

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Ike Kiefer
March 17, 2019 8:22 pm

In early 2017 I checked the reported bird-kills from Ivanpah. Here’s what I found then:

“Another report by the US Fish and Wildlife says that one solar plant, Ivanpah in the Mojave Dessert kills up to 28,000 birds annually . . .”

This is 28x the reported bird kill rate of 1000 reported in the video above.
Also it is noteworthy that I found the following related to wind turbines:

“. . . wind turbines kill bats at night and birds by day during normal operations. One report says they kill over 500,000 birds and over 800,000 bats annually. For comparison, there were 2,303 dead birds with visible oil identified according the US Fish and Wildlife within the Deepwater Horizon/PB incident impact area.”

Note that the video above reported wind turbine bird kill rates of 100,000 per year and they did not mention bat kills.

David L Hagen
March 17, 2019 6:05 pm

Most are Bugs Not Birds

The USGS press release headline states the obvious, Videos Reveal Birds, Bats and Bugs near Solar Project Power Towers, but included in the body of the release is some very important news which prompted the investigation in the first place:

“The new study showed that although birds and bats were occasionally seen near the towers at Ivanpah, most observations involved insects.”
“Although this study did not quantify impacts, fewer than 15 birds were observed being impacted by the solar flux in more than 700 hours of video.”
The video footage proves what we have said from the start – the vast majority of so-called “streamers” are insects – not birds.
Diehl RH, Valdez EW, Preston TM, Wellik MJ, Cryan PM (2016) Evaluating the Effectiveness of Wildlife Detection and Observation Technologies at a Solar Power Tower Facility. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0158115.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  David L Hagen
March 17, 2019 8:50 pm

David – I hope you are correct but this is what I learned in early 2017:

“Another report by the US Fish and Wildlife says that one solar plant, Ivanpah in the Mojave Desert kills up to 28,000 birds annually . . .”

This reported bird kill is 28x the annual kill rate reported in the video above. The video does not specify the solar plant so 1000 kills annually may be for a different plant than Ivanpah.

In a related search, I found this on wind turbine kills:

“. . . wind turbines kill bats at night and birds by day during normal operations. One report says they kill over 500,000 birds and over 800,000 bats annually. For comparison, there were 2,303 dead birds with visible oil identified according the US Fish and Wildlife within the Deepwater Horizon/BP incident impact area.”

Again, the video reported only 100,000 bird kills annually and did not mention bat kills.

Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
March 20, 2019 4:34 pm

Don’t tell griff. He has his own set of articles he reads. You can’t have any other data except green griff approved data.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  David L Hagen
March 17, 2019 10:06 pm

Sorry if this is a repeat but my comment appears then disappears from this blog. A report in 2014 claimed up to 28,000 streamers per year from Ivanpah. Good news if these are mostly insects. This is probably old news but I’ll repeat this as stated on

“According to the Associated Press, up to 28,000 birds per year might be meeting an early death after burning up in the focused beams of sunlight, with birds dying at a rate of one bird every two minutes.
(. . . . . . . . . . . . .)
A quasi-food chain is being established around the solar plant, with predators eating birds and bats that burn up in the plant’s solar rays chasing after insects which are attracted to the bright light from the sun’s reflected rays. That prompted wildlife officials to refer to Ivanpah as a “mega-trap” for wildlife.”

Donald Kasper
March 17, 2019 6:12 pm

We can see the birds and bats incinerated and their carcasses on the ground. What we cannot see is the billions of butterflys and bees and other insects incinerated into bits too small to identify. All of the Desert Southwest pollinators are being exterminated, and with that the flora they pollinate, and the Greens don’t care. Someone needs to put plastic sheeting around some of these collectors to see the magnitude of insect extermination.

Michael Keal
Reply to  Donald Kasper
March 19, 2019 2:33 pm

“the Greens don’t care”. Nothing new there. Think about all the orangutans wiped out when Indonesian forests were replaced by palm oil plantations to make biodiesel. It isn’t and never was about ‘saving’ the planet. We need to be building coal fired power stations at least as fast as the Chinese so we can play our part in greening the planet with that wonderful plant food co2.

March 17, 2019 6:17 pm

Firefox doesn’t like something about the way you embedded this.

Or did you intentionally disable fullscreen?

Ron Long
March 17, 2019 6:22 pm

I watched birds incinerated (streamers/smokers) at the solar mirror electric plant near the Barstow airport. The mirrors aim the reflected sun light at a sodium-filled canister located atop a tower, and the heated sodium passes through pipes into a steam generating system that runs conventional turbines. We saw birds, some of them seagulls, flying along and detour toward the shimmering canister on the top of the tower and burst into smoke and spiral downward. I would estimate around five birds died in around five minutes as I watched.

The experience of gold-mining companies sheds some light on how to deter birds from either burning of chopping risks. Initially mining companies tried to keep birds away from ponds with cyanide solution in them by scaring them: loud rock music, propane canons, stuffed hawks, etc, and none of this worked. Only physical barriers (netting) worked. Try to imagine physical barriers at wind or solar plants, not going to happen.

Corky Boyd
March 17, 2019 6:31 pm

Commercial airline pilots complained they were being blinded by the brightness as they approached LAX from the east. I witnessed it about 6 years ago on flight from Pittsburgh to LAX. Eventually the FAA altered the flight path to take them farther away. My guess is far more birds die from being blinded than from being roasted.

March 17, 2019 7:08 pm

The video says they want to deter birds from flying into the concentrator, but large raptors don’t fear anything when they are in the air.

As a pilot the birds I fear most are large raptors. Other birds will dive out of the way, but large raptors are the lords of the sky, millions of years of evolution has taught them nothing can challenge or threaten them when they are in the air. They are incapable of comprehending man made threats to their lives.

As a pilot I can try to evade them. Solar concentrators or wind turbines not so much.

March 17, 2019 7:24 pm

Birds, bats, butterflies, bees.
Now they’ll kill off the Joshua trees
Does it matter? Not to Them.

I can’t say enough how much I despise those self-righteous ignoramuses who style themselves “friends of the earth”, when all they really are is ignorant, self-serving, self-important jerks. The thinks I could say here are not printable, so I will shut it.

Reply to  Sara
March 17, 2019 10:19 pm

I have those same unmentionable, unprintable, thoughts … environmentalists my ass … the eco left are totalitarian Marxists bent on controlling everyone’s lives as they see fit. And their vision is pure evil and destruction. They propagate LIES and deception to force their unscientific, illogical “solutions” for mankind’s existence. Illogical things like a (sorta) high speed train up the spine of CA. Poof! Reality bites … and it chewed up Jerry’s choo choo train.

March 17, 2019 8:40 pm

Wind turbines kill around 300,000 birds annually, house cats around 3,000,000,000.


Ian W
Reply to  Greg
March 18, 2019 4:02 am

Greg good try.
Raptors are the top of the food chain and rare protected birds – well they were until the ‘greens’ came along. Starlings and sparrows are not rare birds and have a very rapid ‘replacement rate’.

California will soon not have any large raptors remaining courtesy the subsidy farming ‘greens’. The same damage is being done to rare bats and soon they will be driven to extinction by uncaring greens. It is strange that does not concern you.

Reply to  Greg
March 18, 2019 5:15 am

Support the trap/spay-neuter policy.
Both of my cats were dumped. I don’t want them hunting birds, so they live with me now and get to watch the feathermongerers on the deck railing.

Reply to  Greg
March 18, 2019 5:47 am

well my dogs remove any feral or not…cats that come INto my yard
I have colonies of parrots magpies and little blue wrens who appreciate that

John Endicott
Reply to  Greg
March 18, 2019 8:47 am

I’ve owned 4 house cats over the past several decades. The number of birds my cats have killed: ZERO. Needless to say my house cats are indoors only.

March 17, 2019 8:42 pm

Window strikes kill 97 to 976 million birds/year …


March 17, 2019 8:48 pm

Here is some video if you are interested…

It’s just a big bug zapper.

Maybe we should make bug zappers illegal too to save the insects.

Elston Solberg
March 17, 2019 9:08 pm

While all this “Green Tech” is killing a bunch of birds (and believe me I’m not a Greenie) . . . pet cats are absolute killing machines . . . birds, rodents, rabbits, squirrels, you name it . . . The US has 86 million cats . . . let’s say only 20 million of them are indoor/outdoor pets and they only kill 1 bird a week (I have experienced cats killing 1 a day plus all the other creatures) . . . That’s a more than a BILLION birds a year. My point is, put this in perspective. I live in Alberta Canada where the press and greenies get upset when a couple hundred ducks/geese perish in a Fort Mac lagoon . . . . . really? If you wish to save birds either get rid of your cat pets or keep them indoors.

Philip Verslues
March 17, 2019 9:29 pm

I’ve been reading about this for years, Why did it take CBS years to do a story? Given the large number of things they get wrong about Green energy and Climate change, CBS has several thousand corrects to make and stories to do.

Rudolph Schuster
Reply to  Philip Verslues
March 20, 2019 4:30 pm

Amidst the great comments about the millions of cats that kill birds and how that amounts to billions of bird deaths: it’s good to see someone who noticed CBS doesn’t actually focus on the downside and the little any greenies do about the animal slaughter. Interesting how the SPCA isn’t doing ads about the suffering showing just a few of the birds getting incinerated. It’s tragic how they just let hundreds of thousands of birds die, probably millions, including raptors with low population numbers. That’s the convenience of being in the correct political party. There’s a two tiered justice system in our country and a biased media to back them up every step of the way.

Dennis Sandberg
March 17, 2019 9:30 pm

It could be a lot worse. This thing is basically worthless. They need to run it on natural gas for hours a lot of the time because the solar output is so weak. Huge boondoggle.

Dennis Sandberg
March 17, 2019 9:57 pm

Ivanpah sucks up scarce water resources for its boilers, and requires natural gas in order to power itself up each morning, leading to greenhouse gas emissions. The biggest problem is the facility is simply not generating enough power to be worth the cost….$2+billion for a pile of junk that could have been first tested at a scale model for a few $million to determine feasibility. Crazy. Give it up. Anyone know the “end of service” decommissioning procedure and cost?

Gary Pearse
March 17, 2019 11:02 pm

CBS and the rest of them have known this for years. Hmmm do I suspect a sea change in climate and renewables for MSM? They are t.he first rats off a sinking ship.

March 18, 2019 2:02 am

An alternative assessment…

also bird deaths appear to have occurred not in operation, but during testing where mirrors were focussed above the tower… and that’s now stopped.

This CBS report is rehashing old data and doesn’t allow for mitigation sice 2014.

And also: no, US wind turbines are not killing hunfreds of thousands of birds/eagles.

John Endicott
Reply to  griff
March 18, 2019 8:38 am

Yes, griff, US wind turbines do kill hundreds of thousand of avian creatures. specifically somewhere between 140,000 and 328,000 birds die each year from collisions with wind turbines according to scientific studies. Don’t be such a science denier.

Reply to  griff
March 18, 2019 12:51 pm

Maybe the bird death rate is reducing because the birds are getting rarer.

E J Zuiderwijk
March 18, 2019 2:09 am

Currently there is no solution??

How about closing it down?

March 18, 2019 2:41 am

I thought Griff would have been through to tell us bad oil people are throwing the birds into the beams or something because renewable energy never has a problem.

kent beuchert
March 18, 2019 8:45 am

Notice no PETA mouthings.
The biggest disaster with these thermal solar power plants has been their dreadful performance far below estimates of power that could be generated. Last I heard, solar thermal technology is DOA. No more funding for additional plants. It’s not as though the designers didn’t realize that birds will fly thru those intensely hot rays. Thermal solar technology has been a scam.

John Gardner
March 18, 2019 9:16 am

Went Dove hunting in Argentina a few years ago, killing hundreds of the critters. The hunt organizers assured all of us hunters that the dead birds were gathered up each day and given to the poor to eat, so our profligacy was actually helping people.

Found out the reality was that they simply bulldozed the dead birds into pits after we had been bused off to dinner back at the lodge.

Perhaps these “streamers” could be used to feed the poor … 😉

March 18, 2019 9:18 am

The GND (Gray New Deal), especially the artificial Green Blight, is unfriendly to the environment, flora, fauna, and people, too.

Andrew Burnette
March 18, 2019 9:51 am

Current death toll, 100,000/yr. Post Green New Deal death toll would up that by a factor of 100, at least (my SWAG).

Gives a new meaning to the “watermelon” label. The commie red will mingle with the blood of the wildlife.

March 18, 2019 10:10 am

Why not purposely construct these solar farms on perfect concavities, so that each farm’s focal point of collective sunlight would create a REAL death ray capable of melting steel?

Besides providing intermittent power, these could, then, serve as performance-art projects that symbolize Earth’s being ravaged by death rays from CO2, … where each bird, instantaneously fried at the focus, would be a visual reminder of how evil fossil fuel has become.

This way, we could get further funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

I know, … it’s simply brilliant!

Think of the message this would send to … “climate deniers”.

John Chism
March 18, 2019 10:22 am

Every time I read comments on this site, the same people are here, with a few new one’s now and then. It’s like a peer review board arguing over the latest paper submitted for publication.

These solar mirrors are not much different than what cause an “island effect” with more intense heat than the usual building materials for coties and all the vehicles that contribute to it. The reflection of the Solar Radiation off the parabolic arrangement of the mirrors to a concentrated point, to super heat at that point the reflected Solar Radiation. Anything within that area between point A and point B becomes the point B of the reflected Solar Radiation. The air itself having water in it is heated above the boiling point into steam. Other gases are heated according to their properties. Yet, these projects concept is to reduce Global Warming? While the heat is to create water into steam that turns turbines that generate electricity, and that steam is released back into the atmosphere as our greatest Greenhouse Gas…

When are people going to understand that it is not the CO2 from Fossil Fuels that is the problem. It is that we are multiplying the amount of atmospheric water that the Solar Radiation reacts with. Which is many times the effects of CO2. It really doesn’t matter if you’re using Fossil Fuels or Solar Radiation to make steam when the result is the same thing.

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