BrightSource Energy

BrightSource Energy hopes bird data could save Palen Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project

BrightSource Energy is looking to its Ivanpah  Concentrated Solar Thermal Power project, scheduled to go online by the end of the year, for the scientific evidence on bird deaths it hopes might sway the California Energy Commission to reverse its expected denial of its 500-megawatt Palen Concentrating Solar Power(CSP) project.

The Oakland-based company on Monday filed a request asking the commission to delay until spring 2014 a final decision on the project, which would put 750-foot solar towers surrounded by thousands of mirrors on public land about 60 miles east of Indio. Commissioner Karen Douglas cited the potential bird deaths linked to the intense radiation from the project’s mirrors, called solar flux, as a key reason for her recommended denial in a preliminary decision released earlier this month.


The company’s two-page request for the delay notes that it is gathering information on bird deaths at its 377-megawatt Ivanpah project in eastern San Bernardino County, and “believes that this data, coupled with avian data from projects employing other solar technologies, will be important for the (commission) to consider.”

Both projects use solar tower technology, the mirrors surrounding the towers reflecting sunlight that is targeted at boilers on the tops of the towers, creating steam that is used to power turbines.

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