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posted by Dopefish on Monday February 17 2014, @10:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the solar-is-still-awesome dept.

mattie_p writes that this was originally submitted by cmn32480 via the forums.

"According to Fox News, environmentalists are concerned about the impact of the world's largest solar plant, which is located in the Mojave Desert, on the local bird population. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (a solar thermal plant) covers nearly five square miles, has approximately 350,000 garage door sized computer controlled mirrors, and has temperatures near the boilers reaching 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant owners NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc., and BrightSource Energy say they have found dozens of dead birds in the complex in the last several months, some with burned or scorched feathers. The plant cost $2.2 Billion to construct, and had been held up in regulatory and wildlife relocation fighting for several years. It has officially been open since Thursday, February 13, 2014."

 
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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by lubricus on Monday February 17 2014, @02:56PM

    by lubricus (232) on Monday February 17 2014, @02:56PM (#751)

    I don't understand why people frequently assume that pointing out a problem in a system means that the observer must be against the entire thing.

    As others have pointed out, bird strikes are also a concern for wind farms. When environmental groups started documenting this, FOX news jumped on them also.

    Pointing out externalities is not hypocritical, turning a blind eye to facts that don't fit your pre-existing world view would be hypocritical.

    So, there *could* be a problem. There are some questions to ask:
    1. What were the species involved. Are any of them threatened/endagered?
    2. Are the bird deaths the result of the solar farm? What is the null expectation of bird deaths? Is finding bird carcasses in solar farms more likely simply because there is a greater human presence there? (Sampling bias).

    If these questions can be answered, then are there ways to keep birds away? Perhaps ultrasonic, strobe lights, kites? It seems that there should be many possibilities.

    I had been dismayed lately reading commentators at a DICE property that would immediately take political positions when presented with, what I would expect Geeks and Nerds to recognize as engineering problems. I hope this is not also the case here.

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