“Wind power is devastating populations of rare birds and bats across the world, driving some to the point of extinction.” – Clive Hambler
Laced with lies and fueled by delusional dreams of a return to Shangri–La, modern environmentalists and green energy gurus are creating a crisis of epic proportions with the wholesale slaughter of birds and bats under the guise of fighting global warming. In their war to destroy affordable energy, modern environmentalists sacrifice birds and bats to the tune of tens of millions every year. The slaughter is so bad that in Germany, the yearly butchery of 200,000 bats is depleting the population up to 2,000 miles away.
When did the wholesale slaughter of birds and bats become acceptable to those sworn to save the earth? There is mounting evidence that many of these birds and bats are in danger of becoming extinct. Yet the western governments and the green energy zealots continue to ignore the body count and push for more wind mills and solar farms.
Today, in Western Europe and North America there is a massive push to move over to “green energy.” The top two forms of which are considered to be solar and wind, they can be excellent forms of energy in remote locations or on a small scale but when built on the huge scale needed to power small cities the effect on wildlife and the environment can be catastrophic.
The wind/solar industry have achieved remarkable growth largely due to the claim that it will provide major reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Depending on whose data you use this may or may not be accurate. But the perception is out there that these form an earth-friendly duo that is good for Mother Nature. The carcasses of millions of birds, bats and butterflies along with the displaced tortoises plus kit foxes and overburdened tax/ratepayers would strongly disagree.
For instance the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in southern California’s Mojave Desert which is owned by BrightSource Energy. The $2.2 billion plant, which launched in February, is at Ivanpah Dry Lake near the California-Nevada border. The operator says it’s the world’s biggest plant to employ so-called power towers. 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.”
But the environmental cost is staggering. Instead of reusing the millions of acres of already degraded land available, BrightSource Energy, the project’s owner, developed 5.7 square miles of virgin desert. According to Dr. Michael Allen, “Many of the areas that are proposed to be developed for the solar development include Microphyll woodlands. When desert plants grow, they absorb carbon dioxide. This is how our desert sequesters large amounts of C and thus functions to reduce atmospheric CO2. The magnitude of this carbon storage process is still a crucial research question and remains unknown for our California deserts. After vegetation is removed to make way for solar arrays, carbon dioxide will be left to return to the atmosphere that ordinarily would have been used to form soil organic matter. Our deserts store enough CO2, that when accounted globally, may be equal to the entire C as CO2 in the atmosphere.”
Ivanpah has even put a new word into the American lexicon called “Streamers” which is the nickname given to birds which fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays, for the smoke plume they emit as they ignite in midair.
Federal wildlife investigators who visited Ivanpah plant in 2013 watched as birds burned and fell from the sky, 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.
Estimates of bird deaths per year range from about a thousand provided by BrightSource Energy to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group. The investigators want to halt further development until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. “The deaths are “alarming. It’s hard to say whether that’s the location or the technology,” said Garry George, renewable-energy director for the California chapter of the Audubon Society. “There needs to be some caution.”
“We take this issue very seriously,” said Jeff Holland, a spokesman for NRG Solar of Carlsbad, California, the second of the three companies behind the plant. The third, Google, deferred comment to its partners.
More than 300,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door, reflect solar rays onto three boiler towers each looming up to 40 stories high. Sun rays sent up by the field of mirrors are bright enough to dazzle pilots flying in and out of Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Federal wildlife officials said Ivanpah might act as a “mega-trap” for wildlife, with the bright light of the plant attracting insects, which in turn attract insect-eating birds that fly to their death in the intensely focused light rays. They also call the number of deaths significant, based on sightings of birds getting singed and falling along with the retrieval of carcasses of birds with feathers with feathers charred too severely for flight.
Ivanpah officials dispute the source of the so-called streamers, saying at least some of the puffs of smoke mark insects and bits of airborne trash being ignited by the solar rays. But Wildlife officials who witnessed the phenomena were quick to point out that many of the clouds of smoke were too big to come from anything but a bird, and they add that they saw “birds entering the solar flux and igniting, consequently become a streamer.”
Garry George of the Audubon Society states; “Given the apparent scale of bird deaths at Ivanpah, authorities should thoroughly track bird kills there for a year before granting any more permits for that kind of solar technology.”
“The toll on birds has been surprising,” said Robert Weisenmiller, chairman of the California Energy Commission. “We didn’t see a lot of impact on birds at the first, smaller power towers in the U.S. and Europe,” Weisenmiller said.
The commission is now considering the application from Oakland-based BrightSource to build a mirror field and a 75-story power tower that would reach above the sand dunes and creek washes between Joshua Tree National Park and the California-Arizona border.
The proposed plant is on a flight path for birds between the Colorado River and California’s largest lake, the Salton Sea — an area, experts say, is richer in avian life than the Ivanpah plant, with protected golden eagles and peregrine falcons and more than 100 other species of birds recorded there.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials warned California this month that the power-tower style of solar technology holds “the highest lethality potential” of the many solar projects burgeoning in the deserts of California. The proposed new tower would be almost four times as dangerous to birds as the Ivanpah plant. The agency was expected to decide on the proposal this autumn.
“While biologists say there is no known feasible way to curb the number of birds killed, the companies behind the projects say they are hoping to find one — studying whether lights, sounds or some other technology would scare them away,” said Joseph Desmond, senior vice president at BrightSource Energy.
“BrightSource also is offering $1.8 million to programs that spay and neuter domestic cats in compensation for anticipated bird deaths at Palen,” Desmond said. Opponents say that would do nothing to help the desert birds at the proposed site.
The discovery of the corpse of a federally protected and ultra-endangered Yuma clapper rail at one of the solar energy plants has created a maelstrom for the solar industry. With fewer than 1,000 Yuma’s left in the world, several groups have banded together to put a stop to at least a half dozen additional solar plants planned in California and Arizona. Conservationists say they’re also worried about yellow-billed cuckoos, which might be added to the federal government’s list of threatened species, and endangered southwestern willow flycatchers, though none of those birds have been found dead at any of the solar sites. Monarch butterflies are another offering on the altar of green energy as they often ignite in the highly concentrated sunbeams.
The endangered desert tortoises native to that area have also become casualties to this development as animals have been crushed under vehicle tires, army ants attacked the hatchlings in a makeshift nursery and one small tortoise was carried off to an eagle nest, its embedded microchip pinging faintly as it receded.
Another victim of the green energy monster is the extremely rare desert kit Fox. In an effort to drive away the resident foxes on another previously undisturbed site a few miles away from Ivanpah, company employees used coyote urine to frighten the foxes into leaving. This had the effect of introducing canine distemper into a species that had never had it before with extremely lethal results.
Eight of the cat sized foxes have died since State biologists diagnosed the disease in 10/12 at the at the $1-billion Genesis Solar Energy Project site, about 25 miles west of Blythe. Since then, distemper has been detected in living kit foxes and two dead ones up to 11 miles south of Genesis, said Deana Clifford, wildlife veterinarian for the California Department of Fish and Game. Although 11 miles isn’t far in the Mojave Desert, spread of the disease even a few miles shows that efforts to stop it failed and it is now free to spread among the region’s large population of kit foxes causing biologists to almost give up hope of containing the deadly virus.
“I am hopeful that a certain number of kit foxes will survive and develop a resistance,” Clifford said. “We are trying to figure out if the disease will calm down or trigger a new cycle among the next vulnerable group of animals: newborn pups that will wean in May or June.” In a worst-case scenario, kit foxes could suffer an epidemic similar to one that nearly wiped out the island fox population on Santa Catalina Island in 1999. Who needs Kit Foxes anyway as long as we get green energy?
Meanwhile, green energy promoters call wind power as benign as a summer breeze. In fact, wind farms have become avian killing fields. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reports that “wind turbines may kill a half a million birds a year.” The urgent political quest for clean energy brings with it environmental harm including bird and bat deaths from solar and wind power that federal regulators seem to ignore.
USF&WS explains also that “eagles appear to be particularly susceptible. Large numbers of golden eagles have been killed by wind turbines in the western states,” as have smaller numbers of bald eagles.
Bob Johns, director of public relations at the American Bird Conservancy, says, “The numbers don’t lie — and those numbers say that the wind- and the solar-energy industries have not been held to the same standards that other industries have.”
Johns noted that the Altamont Energy wind farms in California, for example, kill between 70 and 80 golden eagles a year — and have never been prosecuted. He adds that he’s not aware of any prosecutions against solar companies.
Team Obama, almost never prosecutes wind companies for violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Even worse, Obama is granting wind-farm operators 30-year federal eagle-killing permits, to continue their mayhem — all in the name of “clean” energy.
“The development and expansion of wind energy facilities is a key threat to bat populations in North America,” Mark Hayes, PhD
Wind farms also blow away another 600,000 bats annually, primarily through lung hemorrhaging. While many people may be scared of these “flying vampires,” these little flying mammals value to humans is astonishing.
In 2011, Gary McCracken, head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, analyzed the economic impact of the loss of bats in North America in agriculture and found it to be around $22.9 billion a year. According to the researchers, a single colony of 150 big brown bats in Indiana eats nearly 1.3 million insects a year — insects that could potentially be damaging to crops. Bats also prey upon mosquitoes and one study showed a Florida colony of 30,000 southeastern myotis (Myotis austroriparius) bats eats 50 tons of insects annually, including more than 15 tons of mosquitoes which are the most effective host for numerous diseases including malaria, yellow fever and dog heartworm. Bats are also incredibly important pollinators with over 500 species of plants requiring bats to pollinate them including the world’s most important food: chocolate.
But between the wholesale slaughter of bats by wind mills and Pseudogymnoascus destructans, more commonly called white-nose syndrome, bats are a vanishing animal in the world today which will be devastating for food production and even worse for the prevention of spreading diseases. While white-nose syndrome is the main culprit for the decline in bat population, windmills are a close second and the results of this rush for green energy may be the final nail in their coffin.
Long before windmills are installed — which itself consumes open fields — they abuse the Earth.
To evaluate any energy technology, “we must remember that it’s a process, starting with mining the materials necessary for the machines,” Alex Epstein notes in his Penguin book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. Epstein observes that manufacturing wind turbines requires “hazardous substances like hydrofluoric acid in order to get usable rare earth elements.”
The Daily Mail‘s Simon Parry toured Baotou, China, a source of neodymium, the main ingredient in wind turbines’ electromagnets. He discovered “a five-mile wide ‘tailing’ lake. It has killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill, and put one of China’s key waterways in jeopardy.”
Parry added: “This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for seven million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its components.
“The lake instantly assaults your senses. Stand on the black crust for just seconds and your eyes water and a powerful, acrid stench fills your lungs.
“For hours after our visit, my stomach lurched and my head throbbed. We were there for only one hour, but those who live in Mr. Yan’s village of Dalahai, and other villages around, breathe in the same poison every day.”
“Withholding the information is in the public’s interest, because that will ensure “open communication” between such companies and the government.” – PacifiCorp lawsuit to stop the release of eagle mortalities at their wind mill farms
Environmentalists and green energy zealots need to stop hallucinating about “sustainable” power sources that do not damage air, water, habitat, and wildlife. “Clean energy” hurts nature and is on pace to put many animals on the extinct list. From introducing canine distemper in kit foxes to the massive killing of raptors, “green energy” could not be more dangerous to animals. Species extinction is a serious issue: around the world we’re losing up to 40 a day. Yet environmentalists are urging us to adopt technologies that are hastening this process.
On top of the crops bats pollinate, with the massive killing of bats worldwide, it is creating a scenario in which many deadly diseases will flourish as mosquitos multiply due to the dwindling bat population. We are slowly bringing about an Aral Sea event on a global scale and one has to wonder what we will do when they are gone?
“Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much concerned with animals suffering? Because government is not. Why not? Animals don’t vote.” – Paul Harvey