The world’s largest solar power plant is currently being built in the Mojave desert and some experts are worried that the Ivanpah plant and its 170,000 garage-door sized solar mirrors is going to cause blinding lights, vaporization to birds and other life threatening issues.
The federal government has planned more than 100 solar projects throughout the Mojave however proper research was never conducted because the scope of the projects are bigger than anything researchers have studied in the past, now some experts fear that the solar plants could cause many threats to humans and wildlife.
The plant is being equipped with a specialized GPS device that will align the plants giant mirrors to track the sun across the desert sky, bouncing radiation to the tops of three 45-story towers which will then heat the water inside the towers to 1,000 degrees, creating steam power for electricity creation.
Because a facility of this scope and with this type of technology has never before been developed researchers are not sure what effects it will have on public health, relying mostly on computer modeling to provide answers.
In some cases researchers are worried that birds could be scorched alive while drivers located miles away could be blinded by the facilities massive mirrors. In the most drastic of predictions researchers say interference from the solar plant could create a deadly threat. An operator at the nearby Blythe airport tells the Los Angeles Times:
“If you hit a plume dead center, you have one wing in and one wing out of it. It would flip an airplane in a heartbeat.”
Since there is already research linking birds to solar power deaths the big question on that front will be home many birds die because of the massive solar power planet. Research dating back three years found that birds flying through solar fields were often incinerated on contact, while other birds had their feathers singed or burned off which led to slower deaths.
In criticizing the project the Defense Department worries that the plants heat use could affect aviation and weapons training at nine different military installations located in the desert.
In the meantime researchers will just have to wait and see if their predictions are correct and the massive Ivanpah plant causes the type of destruction it might be capable of creating. The plants creators say research scenarios are overblown and not likely to occur.