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Ivanpah Issues ‘Hard Counts, Not Speculations’ on Bird Kills

A wave of alarm greeted an apparently erroneous news report in mid-August that 28,000 birds had been killed at the Ivanpah concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in California. Kraemer reports on the exacting conditions developer NRG Energy had to meet before the facility went online, and on the steps NRG is taking to monitor and minimize impacts. “Ivanpah reported 321 total avian fatalities between January and June 2014, of which 133 were related to sunlight being reflected onto the boilers, thus falling far short of the ‘estimates’ in the Associated Press article,” said NRG’s Jeff Holland. Kraemer adds that “the Ivanpah numbers are hard counts, not speculations. Under rigorous oversight by the California Energy Commission (CEC), as part of the multiyear environmental permitting process that all CSP projects must go through in California, these counts are independently tallied by environmental experts.” She adds that Ivanpah had to file 188 permitting documents, each of them up to 300 pages in length, whereas “natural gas permits roll off the assembly line with under 35 filings.”