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Birdlife Concerns At World’s Biggest Solar Power Plant

It was only a few days ago, in fact the 13th February to be precise, that we reported on the formal opening of the largest solar power plant in the world. Yet, here we are now highlighting concerns that have been raised about the impact on some birdlife in the vicinity of the plant.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System plant

You may remember that one of the ways that this solar power plant, that is called the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, differs to the solar arrays we see in the UK is that instead of using solar photovoltaic panels to create energy from the sun’s rays they use about 300,000 mirrors to reflect the sun’s rays towards a number of towers. These towers contain water boilers and the sun’s rays heat the water creating steam that is used to produce electricity as it passes through turbines.

The plant is situated close to the California-Nevada border and covers a desert area of about 5 square miles.

Apparently, a number of the birds that have died at the plant had, regrettably, had their feathers burnt or singed. This may be due to the fact that the temperature in the vicinity of the towers can reach anything up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit so some birds that no doubt unknowingly flew into the area suffered in this way.

There is now a study underway that is expected to last as long as two years into the effect the solar power plant has had on birdlife. It will be interesting to find out if the study will also look at the effect on other wildlife in the locality.

In the meantime, it begs the question whether any similar schemes should be put on hold until the results of the study have been examined. An alternative is of course to use conventional solar panels that are apparently considerably cheaper anyway.

Should any further relevant information come to light we will keep you updated.

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