What’s the world’s largest solar plant to do when its massive mirrors start frying all of the birds flying by? If the solar plant is Ivanpah, the apparent solution is to institute a sort of cap and trade system for bird death. Ivanpah’s owners have decided that in order to offset the number of birds killed by the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, it will donate money to spay and neuter cats, which are notorious bird killers themselves.
The mirrors that help generate Ivanpah’s impressive energy output also happen to be deadly for birds. So Gizmodo set out to find out what BrightSource Energy, the owners of the Ivanpah system, are doing about the problem, and solution was a bit of a surprise. The company explained that is has set aside $1.8 million for a fund that can be used to spay and neuter cats, which seems like a good effort, until you consider that it doesn’t really solve the problem.
To the company’s credit, bird cap and trade isn’t the only solution they are looking into. The company is also working on a few different avian deterrent systems like anti-perching devices, systems to mitigate food opportunities, sonic deterrents and anti-bird LED lighting. All told, the company is spending an impressive $25 million to help save the desert tortoise (which lives in the area) and local birds. So while the spay and neuter solution might seem a bit… unimpressive, the company really is giving the problem some serious attention.
Images via BrightSource Energy