Solar energy project killed 3,500 birds

Solar energy project killed 3,500 birds
© Thinkstock

A California solar energy project federal regulators once called a "mega-trap" for wildlife is responsible for the death of 3,500 birds, according to a new report. 

The Ivanpah project, a 377-megawatt solar energy array in San Bernardino County, Calif., killed an estimated 3,504 birds during its first year of operation, according to a study, reported The Desert Sun

The array is a collection of mirrors that direct sunlight to three tall towers, which create steam to run a turbine.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the paper, researchers combed the project for dead birds and found up to 83 different species killed there. Even so, the study says the deaths are a "minimal proportion of local, regional or national populations."

"We were pleased that the report said our impact is minimal but the entire process, including this report, is about knowing your impact so you can reduce it further," an official with NRG Energy, which operates the project, told the Sun

He said the company is considering a handful of approaches to reduce bird deaths, including measures to deter birds, repositioning mirrors and turning off lights at the project.