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Tipsheet

Nice: Solar Farm Fries Birds And Emits 46,000 Metric Tons Of Greenhouse Gas

Ivanpah is the giant solar farm located in California that’s frying birds out of the sky. The temperatures above the $2.2 billion farm are said to reach 1,000 degrees, which killed 3,500 birds in the first year of operation. In Nevada, a solar farm was doing the same thing to our avian friends. At that site, biologists and engineers noticed trails of smoke during a test, in which were birds being cooked alive.

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Concerning Ivanpah, besides killing birds, it’s was off its energy projections, only generating 40 percent of what was originally projected after 15 months in operation–and it’s also emitting quite a bit of greenhouse gas:

A solar power plant at the center of the Obama administration’s push to reduce America’s carbon footprint by using millions of taxpayer dollars to promote green energy has its own carbon pollution problem.

The Ivanpah plant in the Mojave Desert uses natural gas as a supplementary fuel. Data from the California Energy Commission show that the plant burned enough natural gas in 2014 – its first year of operation – to emit more than 46,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

That’s nearly twice the pollution threshold for power plants or factories in California to be required to participate in the state’s cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions.

The same amount of natural gas burned at a conventional power plant would have produced enough electricity to meet the annual needs of 17,000 California homes – or roughly a quarter of the Ivanpah plant’s total electricity projection for 2014.

The plant’s operators say they are burning small amounts of natural gas in order to produce steam to jump-start the solar generating process. They said burning natural gas has always been part of the process.

Natural gas is used to preheat water that goes into boilers mounted on top of three 459-foot-tall towers at Ivanpah. This allows heat from the sun – captured by 352,000 mirrors – to make steam more quickly. The steam turns the turbines that produce electricity.

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So, it’s not producing the energy it was supposed to generate, it's killing birds, and emitting 46,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. That, uh, doesn’t sound like a roaring success.

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