Killing birds to save birds

We have been warned that we must replace all our carbon spewing fossil fuel power plants with renewable ones to save the planet from bird killing global warming.

That’s why they built the thermal solar power plant in the Mojave near Ivanpah. It’s three 40-story, water-filled towers are the focal point of thousands of mirrors, thus turning the water to steam to generate power in the same way those fossil fuel plants do, but without the carbon spewing.

As reported earlier, those superheated focused sun rays are killing birds by the thousands, and things haven’t changed.

The LA Times reports that the plant is killing 6,000 birds a year and no one has any idea how to mitigate the slaughter.

But that’s OK because it isn’t spewing carbon, right? It turns out as much as 30 percent of the power produced by the plant comes from heating the boilers with natural gas.

Insects and birds being incinerated by focused rays of the sun at Ivanpah power plant. (LA Times photo)

Insects and birds being incinerated by focused rays of the sun at Ivanpah power plant. (LA Times photo)



24 comments on “Killing birds to save birds

  1. Bruce Feher says:

    I have suspected for some time that the lunatics ARE running the asylum!

  2. Reziac says:

    Mirror-based solar is the worst form of scorched-earth ecological disaster. The cooked flyers are the least of it. At ground level it’s a permanent dust bowl and heat generator, which contaminates the climate for miles downwind. Imagine what this does to a fragile desert ecology.

    I know, because i lived about five miles downwind of the facility being built NW of Lancaster CA. Suddenly we had blowing dust that we’d NEVER had before, and the formerly-cooling afternoon winds vanished, causing a marked increase in afternoon temperature when formerly we could count on it dropping by twenty degrees as soon as the wind came up.

    Consider this next time you see shocking figures indicating “global warming”.

  3. Patrick says:

    Never suspected you of being an animal rights activist Thomas.

    Maybe I’m too naïve though and what this really is, is just a knock on clean energy. If it is, I wonder where the comparison of bird (and other animal lives lost) deaths to clean energy, and those lost to dirty energy is?

    My money is on less animal life lost to clean energy. Probably not much of a story though for this blog.

  4. CLEMSON, South Carolina — Almost 40 percent of the world’s populations of lizards are expected to become extinct by 2080, because the earth is warming faster than these populations can adapt.

    But the new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, shows that, to make accurate predictions, these models must include much more data about how shade is distributed in an animal’s habitat.

    “This is a breakthrough paper,” according to Raymond Huey, a professor emeritus of biology at the University of Washington. “Scientists studying climate warming will now be forced to evaluate the spatial distribution of sunny-shady patches, and not just compute the fraction of an area that is sunny or shady.

    adaptation …

    Birds can adapt to 2 degrees but not 1,000 degrees.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Oil Pollution and Birds
    •Oil may escape from ships through accidents or through deliberate dumping.
    •Every year, more than 300 000 birds are killed by oil off the south coast of the island of Newfoundland alone.
    •Many oiled birds that wash ashore must be humanely killed, because cleaning oiled birds is largely ineffective.”

    They don’t adapt so well dripping in dumped and leaked oil either.

  6. Anonymous says:

    But maybe there’s a worse energy source that’s responsible for killing many more of our flying friends?

    As a matter of fact, there is:

    “But even if nearly 30,000 birds a year are getting sent to their fiery doom, that’s a mere fraction compared to other U.S. energy sources. Different studies and government agencies used a range of methodologies to reach their conclusions – “There’s no standardized way of doing it that everyone can agree to,” says Garry George, renewable energy director for Audubon California – but when it comes to bird kills by the electricity industry, here’s the approximate pecking order:

    Solar: Anywhere from about 1,000 birds a year, according to BrightSource, to 28,000 birds a year, according to an expert at the Center for Biological Diversity.

    Wind: Between 140,000 and 328,000 birds a year in the contiguous United States, according to a December 2013 study published in the journal Biological Conservation. Taller turbines tend to take out more birds.

    Oil and Gas: An estimated 500,000 to 1 million birds a year are killed in oil fields, the Bureau of Land Management said in a December 2012 memo.

    Coal: Huge numbers of birds, roughly 7.9 million, may be killed by coal, according to analysis by Benjamin K. Sovacool, director of the Danish Center for Energy Technologies. His estimate, however, included everything from mining to production and climate change, which together amounted to about five birds per gigawatt-hour of energy generated by coal.”

    Ah beautiful wonder COAL! Guess they will be next up for the blog eh Thomas:)

  7. Steve says:

    AGW will continue to force change in climate for at least the next 200 years…some say 1000. It depends on who your favorite source is. I used NPR sites to source these numbers.

    According to the many articles, even if all human activity were halted today, this instant, the climate continues to forcibly change due to human activity already occurred.

    So, no matter how much “mitigation” or “control” that takes place, nothing will happen. The climate continues to got to hell in a handbasket and there is nothing (short of genocide) that can make a difference. (and genocide wont even do it! All it could do is certainly prevent the next generations from experience the effects of the so hated AGW)

    So what are the choices? I say genocide is not an option. Mitigation simply doesn’t have any chance of doing anything.

    Adaptation…. Not only is this a good way to ensure survival, nature uses it all the time. Consider the ability of humans to adapt using our brains. Here is one great example carbon scrubber tech exists today. It could remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as is wished. We have the formulas to create fuels from the scrubbed carbon and those fuels would work in existing systems. Literally, “mining” the atmosphere is a completely possible operation. “Sequestering” as much of this carbon would be entirely up to humans as this adaptation takes place. This is the ultimate in recycling. See website

    Control, ah there is a thing liberal love to have, control. Controlling the masses through energy is a great thing for the rich and powerful…but liberals (who currently are THE establishment and hold the power) supposedly don’t like rich, powerful people. Maybe liberals are really suffering from self loathing….

    Adaptation….it is this or die…and nature itself tells us so.

  8. rincon says:

    If Thomas was all that concerned about bird deaths, he could focus on something that kills over a hundred THOUSAND times as many – the family cat, but he won’t.. Keep pecking away at the little stuff, Thomas.

    Of course, photovoltlaic is likely to render this discussion moot. I’m also amazed that those so sure that technology will save us from a whole host of environmental problems don’t believe there’s any possible way to build an effective scarecrow.

  9. Steve says:

    If scarecrows were as effective as you seem to indicate, airports would be using them far more than they are.

  10. rincon says:

    So the same people who can’t make an effective scarecrow will be harvesting CO2 from the atmosphere by the teraton? It’s all about cost, Steve. Gravel arresting beds at the end of runways stop airplanes so they cannot overrun the runway, but are rare because of the cost to benefit ration. Same with scarecrows. In a similar way, harvesting CO2 is not feasible due to cost.

  11. Steve says:

    Now that comment is a perfect example of an ASSumption, Rincon.

    No “the same people who can’t make an effective scarecrow” will not be the ones doing that.

    They aren’t farmers for one thing. For another, they aren’t rich, well connected multinational internet entrepreneurs (Google) spending public money on fantasy power generation only to get out just in time to distance themselves from being bird killers.

  12. So, renewable energy will be cost effective sometime in the future, but not carbon capture?

  13. Steve says:

    They don’t like it when their favorite “solutions” fall flat while other people work on functional answers in reality based engineering.

    Quoting (sort of) Bob Beers. Science is the art of creating theory. Once proven, that theory becomes an engineering practice. Either electronics, mechanics or even prediction of the weather.
    Practical uses of current solar sourced electric generation works well only on a small scale. It take literally hundreds of square miles of what Joni Mitchel called “paradise” to generate the same amount of electricity as one natural gas fired power plant. Placing a carbon capture installation at or near that same natural gas plant would easily make that generator a “carbon negative” electricity source and would leave huge swaths of land totally alone.

  14. rincon says:

    “They aren’t farmers for one thing” Farners? You been drinking?

  15. rincon says:

    OK, OK, farmers. Trying to type in the dark tonite.

  16. rincon says:

    Thomas: The difference in feasibility between the two is astronomical.

  17. Steve says:

    farner…..farmer…..someone’s been drinkin’

    Yup the difference is astronomical, one has been recently engineered and is progressing fast while the other has been around for 60 years and has improved by only about 50%


  18. Steve says:

    Apparently the “scarecrow” is being engineered now, and it also outperforms PV!

  19. rincon says:

    Your messages are difficult to understand, Steve. WHAT has improved by 50%? Cost per watt of solar cells was $76.00 in 1977 and $0.30 in 2015. Slightly greater than 50% improvement.

    Your PM article covers actual scarecrows. How can a scarecrow “outperform” photovoltaics?

    While nitpicking about “farners”, which I instantly corrected anyway, you ignored my question. Don’t worry, I’m used to it.

  20. Steve says:

    Not costs….efficiency.
    We make them a lot cheaper but they simply haven’t been becoming (significantly) more efficient. Moore’s law simply does not apply to PV.

    On that front the engineered scarecrow easily mops the floor with PV. PV Efficiency hasn’t really improved much since it was invented. Though there have been some ways to get more current out of each cell, this has proven very difficult to increase. This is the biggest reason it takes endless square miles of panels to equal the output of one natural gas fired generator.

    Carbon scrubbing coupled with natural gas show much more potential for far less environmental impact compared with covering over huge swaths of land with panels as far as the eye can see.
    In fact carbon scrubbing introduces the first ever chance at being carbon negative while producing the power our society demands on a daily basis.

  21. Steve says:

    Here’s another worthless bit of technology, Rincon can pan the hell out of for being “passive”
    Compared to PV solar fields, this thing is tiny.
    I bet they could make coal as clean and C negative as Natural gas and carbon scrubbers would.

    And the things we can make from “mining” the atmosphere are really cool.

    But to the left, this stuff is really worthless.

    Adapt, or die. That is the way of nature.

  22. rincon says:

    These don’t even deserve a reply, but whatever…So according to Steve, cost isn’t important. He’s concerned only about efficiency despite the fact that the surface area of our rooftops and pavements is greater than we’re likely to need. You’re joking, right?

    Your link reports a machine that converts smog PARTICLES into jewelry. 1) CO2 is not a particle at ambient temperatures. 2) Jewelry? And you take it seriously? Again, you’re joking, right?

    You have never showed reasonable cost estimates for “CO2 scrubbing”. Why should I respect your words about it?

  23. […] Crescent Dunes claims its concentrated solar rays kill only 60 birds a year compared to 6,000 at Ivanpah, the environmental impact should be carefully weighed, because federal land bureaucrats are too […]

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