Solar Energy

Photo: stock xchng


Construction of the largest solar thermal power plant to be built in 15 years, in Boulder City, Nevada, is nearly complete. In addition, the 64MW Nevada Solar One power plant will generate enough power to meet the electricity needs of about 40,000 households and follows in the steps of the 354MW solar thermal power plants located in California’s Mojave Desert. While California’s solar plants have generated billions of kilowatt hours of electricity for the past two decades, the Nevada Solar One plant will use new technologies to capture even more energy from the sun.


Impacts on birds 


The main impact on birds is due to the large footprint needed for commercial-scale energy production. In addition, there has been some data on bird strikes. Researchers, who have studied avian mortality at Solar One over a 40-week period, documented the death of 70 birds (of 26 species). The estimated morality rate was 1.9-2.2 birds per week; 57 birds (81%) of 20 species died from collisions with Solar One structures, mainly the mirrored surfaces of heliostats; 13 birds (19%) of 7 species died from burns received by flying through "standby" points. The impact of this mortality on the local bird population was found to be minimal (0.6-0.7% per week).