There are often unintended consequences when it comes to harnessing green energy, and in the case of mass solar panel installations, like Nevada's Crescent Dunes Solar Project, that consequence is vaporized birds.
Newsbusters reports that the organization, Basin and Range Watch (BRW), is suing the Bureau of Land Management for concealing data about bird mortality rates at the Crescent Dunes Solar Project in Tonopah, Nevada.
BRW touts itself as a group of California and Nevada based volunteers bent on protecting the desert from "industrial renewable energy development." Video footage shows that in 2015, 115 birds disintegrated in mid-air as they flew into the Crescent Dune's solar flux during its testing period. According to past reports, 1,000 bird deaths each year are attributed to the solar project:
The solar flux is a concentrated beam of sunlight reflected off of a series of ground mirrors. Biologists studying the dying birds morbidly nicknamed them “streamers” for the streak of smoke they created as they burned mid-flight, the Los-Angeles Review Journal reported March 9, 2015.
The network news media barely covered bird fatalities in mid-2014, when the Crescent Dunes Solar Project were scrutinized for at least 1,000 bird deaths each year. NBC Today Show covered the story just once on Aug. 20, 2014, but neither ABC or CBS reported it.
After the 2015 fatalities, BRW filed a Freedom of Information Act request for data on the bird kills. But BRW claims the BLM “withheld documents that describe how BLM will ensure that the project’s owner, Solar Reserve, will prevent similar bird kills in the future.”
“Once the mirrors are focused on the tower, the brightness and solid structure is enough to deter birds,” Mary Grikas, company spokeswoman for Solar Reserve, told the Los Angeles Review Journal in March 2015. However, BRW feared that the brightness would create another problem; a “lake effect,” where birds see the sky’s reflection in the mirrors and fly directly into the solar flex, thinking it is a body of water.
Aside from BRW, whose agenda is more about protecting the desert basin specifically, it is curious we've not heard more of an outcry from environmentalists and animal rights activists (as well as liberal lawmakers) about this.