Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays — "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.
Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version.
The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.
If something kills a bird every two minutes in perpetuity is it "green"? I'm thinking the small, residential systems like those from Solar City in San Mateo are a better alternative than big, Jerry Brown-sponsored and subsidized systems that kill birds and chase off tortoises. It's just like the high-cost rail fiction that it will be good for the environment when the pollution it creates in construction is greater than the pollution is displaces over the useful life of the tracks and train cars.