Deroy Murdock — National Review — September 26, 2014
Environmentalists worship solar energy and wind power as Earth-friendly answers to their ecological prayers. Tortoises, bats, butterflies, and bald eagles beg to differ.
Perhaps because solar panels and industrial wind farms lack emissions, they seem “clean.” Despite their pristine appearance, however, these “green” electricity sources hammer Mother Nature — often fatally.
Consider the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in southern California’s Mojave Desert. As Carolyn Lochhead wrote on September 7 in the San Francisco Chronicle, Ivanpah occupies 3,500 previously untouched federal acres. It features 300,000 mirrors that focus sunlight on three 40-story towers of power. Inside, 900-degree temperatures yield steam, propel turbines, and generate electricity for 140,000 homes.
Ivanpah’s environmental toll is stunning:
• BrightSource Energy, the project’s owner, could have rehabilitated a brownfield, an abandoned commercial site, or a decommissioned military base. Instead, BrightSource developed 5.5 square miles of virgin desert.
• Lochhead reports that “scientists now say desert soils contain vast stores of carbon that are unleashed by construction of solar facilities.”
• Tortoises native to that area became refugees once BrightSource relocated them en masse.
• Kit-fox dens were flattened during construction.
• Monarch butterflies and birds should avoid Ivanpah at all costs. Those who traverse its highly concentrated sunbeams often ignite. Center for Biological Diversity ecologist K. Shawn Smallwood told the California Energy Commission last July that Ivanpah will roast an estimated 28,380 birds annually. Continue reading about the devastation caused by wind turbines….