A solar power plant in California accidentally has killed up to 6,000 birds each year, with staff saying is that the birds keep flying into its resolute beams of sunlight, and impulsively bursting into fires. The problem has been about since the place opened in 2014, and the team reports it is doing everything to save the birds from a flaming. But until now, the perfect solution has not found yet.
The plant’s spokesperson, David Knox, told Louis Sahagun at the LA Times, "We are trying everything we can to decrease the amount of birds killed out here. If there is a silver bullet out there, maybe we will find it."
Ivanpah Solar Electricity Generating System with all three towers
The view of a bird being fried to death is so usual at the Ivanpah Solar Plant in California’s Mojave Desert, that employees have named the smoldering birds "streamers" because they leave small wisps of white smoke behind as they burn in the sky.
So why is this still going on?
Well, it is mostly due to the plant’s whole design and location. To catch sunlight, the plant covers 5 square miles (12.9 square km) of huge mirrors that focus beams of resolute sunlight onto three dissimilar 40-storey-tall towers. Once the beams are absorbed on the towers, their energy can be used to power turbines inside, which produces energy for the power grid. The problem is that all this resolute light around the towers creates them a major location for insects to hang around, and this draws the birds. When the birds pass the front of all that focused light to get at the insects, they burn in no time. And the condition is made even eviler by the fact that the plant situated end to end the Pacific Flyway, a common migratory path for many various types of birds, as well as protected types like varied thrushes and northern goshawks.
According to Sahagun, federal biologists expects that upwards of 6,000 birds die at the plant each year, and even yet officials at the facility say they are trying to come up with a way out, tiny has improved since its launch in 2014.
Garry George from Audubon California, a conservation group that focuses on the Pacific Flyway, told the LA Times, "Ivanpah is a bird sink, and a warning tale unfolding on public lands. It continues to operate as though there’s an endless supply of birds to burn."
To make problems worse, some of the constraining systems in place to keep other animals and birds out of the facility have caused unexpected effects. The plant fixed a large fence to keep out rare desert tortoises, but the knock-on problem is that this has made it too easier for coyotes to kill roadrunners.
The worthy news for the roadrunners is that the Ivanpah team says it plans on installing 'roadrunner doors' to the barriers so they can easily get through, instead of getting stuck birds in the sky, on the other hand, are slightly more complex, because how do you stop a bird from flying anywhere it wants?
With no simple solution in view, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies are moving in to cooperate on possible solutions.
Amedee Bricky, deputy chief of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s migratory bird program said to LA Times, "It may take another nine months of data to determine what is actually going on at Ivanpah in terms of bird mortalities and the effectiveness of various deterrents. Eventually, we hope to convey what we learn to countries around the world creating their own solar
What makes this difficult problem stand out, moreover the huge number of deaths, is that it demonstrates that even solar power plants, which are invented to be useful for the environment, can still have unexpected impacts on native eco-systems. Positively, with so many teams now trying to solve the problem, a solution will shortly show itself.
Till then, it is not looking too great for birds alongside the Pacific Flyway.