On the face of it, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, located across five acres of federal land in the Mojave Desert close to the Nevada/California border is the perfect example of green energy. It is a 400 megawatt solar-thermal plant that uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight on boilers located on 459-foot towers, turning water into steam that drives turbines that creates emissions free electricity.
However, according to a February 15, 2014 story in Fox News, environmentalists are slamming the $2.2 billion project because it kills birds. It seems that birds fly over the plant, get hit by the concentrated sunlight, and are barbequed to death.
Now environmentalists are vowing to fight similar solar projects while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is concerned that they place protected bird species such as golden eagles at risk.
The controversy presents a quandary for environmentalists and other advocates of alternative energy. They favor energy production from alternative sources such as solar and wind (which has also been accused of killing bird species.) And yet they do not favor it because of the environmental effects.
The question therefore arises, is there any form of energy production that does not have some environmental impact that can be objected to?