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Espen

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Green energy is not always perfect
« on: August 18, 2014, 09:48:27 PM »
Have a ice day!

Bob Wallace

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 12:19:25 AM »
"up to 28,000 birds per year might be meeting an early death after burning up in the focused beams of sunlight"

That's pretty nasty.  Luckily there aren't other things that humans do that kill birds.  Oh, wait...

Domestic cats in the United States kill up to 3.7 billion birds each year.
http://phys.org/news/2013-01-cats-billions-birds-mammals.html#jCp

Collisions with buildings kill 976 million birds each year.
http://www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf

Collisions with vehicles kill  380 million birds each year.
http://www.abcbirds.org/conservationissues/threats/energyproduction/index.html

Collisions with communication towers kill 174 million each year.
http://www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf

Poisoning kills 72 million bird each year.
http://www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf

Managed annual waterfowl hunt kills about 15 million birds a year.  (Just managed waterfowl hunts.)
http://www.sibleyguides.com/conservation/causes-of-bird-mortality/

The Exxon Valdez spill killed almost a half million birds.
http://www.evostc.state.ak.us/Projects/ProjectInfo.cfm?project_id=826



Ivanpah is expected to produce 1,079 GWh per year.  That would be roughly 26 birds per GWh which is high for energy production.

Wind farms kill roughly 0.27 birds per GWh.

Nuclear plants kill about 0.6 birds per GWh.  (2.2x wind)

Fossil-fueled power stations kill about 9.4 birds per GWh. (34.8x wind)

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2198024

That high bird kill rate may be a major problem for thermal solar.





Bob Wallace

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 05:34:36 AM »
I've been digging around for some other news about Ivanpah and stumbled on this recent article which states

"Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group."

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/emerging-solar-plants-scorch-birds-mid-air-25017031

That's a heck of a range.  BrightSource is the plant owner.  The Center for Biological Diversity is a long term group dedicated to protecting endangered species.  I don't see anything on line about CBD being a group that has a reputation for overstatement.

1,000 per year would be 0.94 bird deaths per GWh.  Worse than nuclear at 0.6 but vastly better than fossil fuels at 9.4.  That's the low end.  If, after a few more months of data collection, it turns out that the number is closer to the CBD then this might be the last solar tower built in the US.

Apparently solar towers built in other countries haven't experienced these sorts of bird kill numbers.

CBD worked with BrightSource mitigating the tortoise problem.  And supposedly CBD is actively monitoring bird deaths.  The wide spread between the two sets of numbers is puzzling.

ritter

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2014, 06:56:37 PM »
Good stuff, Bob.

Fossil-fueled power stations kill about 9.4 birds per GWh. (34.8x wind)

This obviously does not include such externalities as climate change. I suspect the ultimate toll on birds from fossil-fueled power stations is, and certainly will be, much higher.

Laurent

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2014, 08:58:56 PM »
Not very efficient but still very interesting...
Green power blooms as Japan unveils 'hydrangea solar cell'
http://phys.org/news/2014-08-green-power-blooms-japan-unveils.html

oren

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2014, 05:57:24 PM »
Good stuff, Bob.

Fossil-fueled power stations kill about 9.4 birds per GWh. (34.8x wind)

This obviously does not include such externalities as climate change. I suspect the ultimate toll on birds from fossil-fueled power stations is, and certainly will be, much higher.

My thoughts exactly...

Bob Wallace

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2014, 08:02:27 PM »
I've done more reading.  It seems the EPA wants a full year of kill data before considering the problem.  (I am baffled by the count range difference between BrightSource and CBD.  Both groups should be using trained biologists for their counts.)

There's one statement to the effect that there is no way to keep birds out of the danger area.  It seems that many birds flee the area of a falcon.  With our advanced drone technology it would seem we could have multiple "falcons" circling the area and even pursuing birds that approached.

Anyone know more about predator birds?

Hans

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2014, 09:11:59 PM »
Good stuff, Bob.

Fossil-fueled power stations kill about 9.4 birds per GWh. (34.8x wind)

This obviously does not include such externalities as climate change. I suspect the ultimate toll on birds from fossil-fueled power stations is, and certainly will be, much higher.

No. it obviously DOES include. read the paper:

0.02 as result of mountain top removal/deforrestation for coal mining
0.07 collides with or faces electrocution at thermoelectric power plant equipment"
0.05 acid rain
0.06 other hazardous pollutants

And for climate change: "...projected that 15%to 37% of all species of birds could be extinct by 2050. These numbers, too, can be tentatively quantified into 9.16 deaths per GWh from oil, natural gas, and coal-fired power stations"

"Adding the avian deaths from coal mining, plant operation, acid rain, mercury,
and climate change together results in a total of 9.36 fatalities per GWh"

How else could this figure be this high?

ritter

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2014, 10:29:36 PM »
Good stuff, Bob.

Fossil-fueled power stations kill about 9.4 birds per GWh. (34.8x wind)

This obviously does not include such externalities as climate change. I suspect the ultimate toll on birds from fossil-fueled power stations is, and certainly will be, much higher.

No. it obviously DOES include. read the paper:

Thanks for the correction!

From the paper: For fossil-fueled power stations, the most significant fatalities come from climate change, which is altering weather patterns and destroying habitats that birds depend on.

SteveMDFP

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2014, 12:53:22 AM »
I've done more reading.  It seems the EPA wants a full year of kill data before considering the problem.  (I am baffled by the count range difference between BrightSource and CBD.  Both groups should be using trained biologists for their counts.)

There's one statement to the effect that there is no way to keep birds out of the danger area.  It seems that many birds flee the area of a falcon.  With our advanced drone technology it would seem we could have multiple "falcons" circling the area and even pursuing birds that approached.

Anyone know more about predator birds?

Fabulous idea.  There are already solar-powered drones that birds mistake for being another bird:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/6/armys-new-robotic-bird-drone-so-realistic-it-gets-/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS#ixzz2VdzFMt8H

For this purpose, flying over a solar reflective array, it could be fitted with solar cells on both top AND bottom surfaces. With the extra available power, it could have a speaker to make threatening calls.

Espen

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2014, 08:21:10 PM »
"Falcon" kites (wind-powered) are used successfully in Denmark?
Have a ice day!

Bob Wallace

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2014, 10:36:23 PM »
"Falcon" kites (wind-powered) are used successfully in Denmark?

Got a link?  I wasn't able to google anything up.

morganism

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Bob Wallace

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2014, 02:31:53 AM »
Why don't you get back to us when someone has managed to make commercial electricity from fusion?

People have made electricity from wave energy.  That does not mean that it is commercially feasible to make electricity using wave power.

domen_

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2014, 12:01:25 PM »
Even the low end 0.94 bird death per GWh would be too much imo. If solar tower is causing that many bird deaths they should move to another technology which doesn't.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2014, 10:47:38 PM »
New data is emerging.

Apparently the 28,000 was an "estimate".  I've found nothing to back up the flame-out every two minutes stuff.  The following information is from someone who I've know over several years and is very careful with facts.

The actual count monitored by the CEC (California Energy Commission), was 321 birds in the first 6 months.  The count was 10 for the month of January. Hardly 2 or 3 a day. Only in April (migration) was there 3 a day: there were 97 birds, 3 bats. Most of the birds were were humming birds and sparrows.

http://social.csptoday.com/technology/how-protect-birds-csp-towers


It looks like Ivanpah might have been hit by a large scale disinformation effort.  But it will take a little longer to be sure.


Now, how's that ice recovery progressing?

Bob Wallace

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2014, 07:56:20 AM »
The flame-outs/"streamers" reported at the rate of one every two minutes seems to be caused by insects and dust particles as well as the occasional bird.

It's seeming to look like someone took a minuscule amount of data, did a Chicken Little story and fed it to the AP, who bought in.

Here's BrightSource, Ivanpah's parent company's page on the problem...

http://www.brightsourceenergy.com/setting-the-record-straight-solar-flux-and-impact-to-avian-species#.U_rNY_ldXfI

wili

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2014, 03:16:50 PM »
I think this guy goes a bit overboard at times about how attractive solar power seems to TPTB--if it were really so attractive, there would be a lot more out there already.

But he does give some good cautionary warnings about applying it where it's not helpful, and about the inevitable downsides that some don't think carefully enough about.

From Berkeley’s Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society.

"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2014, 07:55:30 AM »
wili - you need to realize that solar has become 'close to cheap' only in the last very few years.  Solar is just now taking off. 

Do you have the points written down?  I hate sitting through videos fishing for someone else's points.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2014, 08:02:10 AM »
OK, back to Ivanpah.

I've found the first quarter report from the company hired to take the bird kill data at Ivanpah.  Their estimate at this point is that roughly 200 birds died between 29/10/13 and 21/3/14.  They suggest some improvements in data collection that they are going to incorporate in following quarters and warn that numbers might rise slightly.

The report is available by googling 07-AFC-05C

The "28,000" seems to come from someone taking the '1 every couple of minutes" streamers comment and multiplying by the number of minutes the site would operate in a year.  It's looking like a Watt's Up type number. 

Bob Wallace

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Re: Green energy is not always perfect
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2014, 08:06:53 AM »
wili - take a look at the relationship between price and installation rates.