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Unintended Consequences: Bird Deaths At California Solar Power Plants

Evening Edition

Aired 8/20/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Unintended Consequences: Bird Deaths At California Solar Power Plants

GUESTS:

Jeff Holland, spokesman for NRG Solar of Carlsbad, one of the companies behind the Ivanpah Solar Electricity Generating System

Chris Clarke, natural history writer and environmental journalist whose work can be seen on KCET.org. He's been covering the Ivanpah plant story.

Jim Peugh, conservation chair for the San Diego chapter of the Audubon Society.

The goal of the huge Ivanpah solar electricity plant in the Mojave desert is to provide clean, affordable energy to thousands of households.

But what it's also doing, according to wildlife officials, is killing birds. The predictions, disputed by plant owners, are as high as 28,000 birds a year.

The debate, going on now between state and federal agencies, is whether to approve a new and bigger solar electricity plant, owned by the one of the members of the same energy group, BrightSource Energy, Inc., before experts really get a handle on how the birds are being killed and what might slow down the death rate.

Journalist Chris Clarke has been covering this story for KCET. Here is a selection from his reporting:

Ivanpah Solar Project Has a Bad Burned Bird Problem

Bird Deaths Continue Through May at Ivanpah Solar

Panel Discards Scientists' Recommendations on Wildlife Kills at Solar Plant

Science Incomplete on 'Stealth' Solar Wildlife Deaths

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