(Note: You just can’t make this stuff up. Because their solar facility has become the world’s largest bug and bird zapper, BrightSource has offered to offset this by donating $1.8 million to programs that spay and neuter cats. Good grief. This article starts off talking about the dangers to pilots and airline passengers, but eventually talks about the number of bird deaths at this facility. — DQ)
Ernest Istook — Washington Times — August 20, 2014
Thanks to a $1.6 billion green energy loan from the feds, pilots are being blinded by glare as they fly over the Mojave Desert. It’s a safety hazard that affects over 40 million airplane passengers a year.
The culprit is the Ivanpah solar energy project, with more than 300,000 giant mirrors spread over 5 square miles of public land provided to BrightSource/NRG Energy. The $1.6 billion loan is only part of $5.2 billion extended to the company by the Obama administration — 10 times what taxpayers lost from loans to the failed Solyndra fiasco.
Since Ivanpah went online in December, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued warnings to pilots of commercial and private aircraft who fly in and out of Las Vegas and destinations in Southern California. They’re told to be aware of this danger in one of America’s busiest aviation corridors.
As one commercial pilot complained to the FAA, “Neither the pilot nor co-pilot could look in that direction due to the intense brightness. The brightness was like looking into the sun, and it filled about one-third of the co-pilot’s front windshield. In my opinion, the reflection from these mirrors was a hazard to flight.”
A July study by Sandia National Laboratories confirms the glare is a serious problem, noticeable 40 miles away, bright at 20 miles away and creating “significant ocular impact” at a distance of 6 miles. That means several minutes of lingering afterimages that make it impossible for pilots to maintain their proper safety lookout for other aircraft in that busy flight path over the Mojave. …
…. Ivanpah also poses a threat to wildlife. Estimates say up to 28,000 birds are cooked or even vaporized by its beams. The bright light attracts bugs, and the bugs attract birds. They end up victims of the world’s biggest bug zapper. BrightSource proposes to offset this by donating $1.8 million to programs that spay and neuter cats. Their reasoning is that cats kill over 1 billion birds a year worldwide, so by holding down the cat population BrightSource will save more birds than it kills.
BrightSource intends to build more facilities like Ivanpah, with more federal subsidies and help from the state of California. Ivanpah provides energy for 140,000 homes (although at greater cost than fossil-fuel-generated power). So what are the other claimed benefits? Continue reading here…..