News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.
Concentrating Solar
Controversial Solar Plant Producing Way Less Power Than Expected

Controversial Solar Plant Producing Way Less Power Than Expected

Concentrating Solar: A solar power plant in the Mojave Desert that's attracted negative attention for its injuries to birds is producing a whole lot less power than it's supposed to, according to Energy Department figures.
Massive Solar Power Project for California Desert Scrapped

Massive Solar Power Project for California Desert Scrapped

Concentrating Solar: The owners of the proposed Palen Solar Electric Generating System formally withdrew their project from consideration by the state on Friday.
California Set to Approve Controversial Solar Plant

California Set to Approve Controversial Solar Plant

Concentrating Solar: The California Energy Commission gave tentative approval Friday evening to a reconfigured solar power plant in Riverside County that opponents say potentially poses a serious risk to migrating birds.
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New to the Birds and Solar Issue? We've Got It Covered Here

New to the Birds and Solar Issue? We've Got It Covered Here

Concentrating Solar: As a guide to journalists and other readers who are struggling to come up to speed on the issue, we've compiled our reporting on burn injuries to birds at solar power plants into one handy, interactive post.
Has The Rice Solar Project Been Abandoned?

Has The Rice Solar Project Been Abandoned?

Concentrating Solar: A solar power tower project proposed for a stretch of private land in Riverside County's eastern desert, and approved by state regulators in 2010, has been languishing unbuilt for four years due to lack of capital investment. Now the project owners' competitors are calling the project "abandoned." But is it?
Science Incomplete on 'Stealth' Solar Wildlife Deaths

Science Incomplete on 'Stealth' Solar Wildlife Deaths

Concentrating Solar: Asked whether concentrated solar energy might kill birds without causing visible injuries, Federal scientists said they don't really have enough data to answer.
Panel Discards Scientists' Recommendations on Wildlife Kills at Solar Plant

Panel Discards Scientists' Recommendations on Wildlife Kills at Solar Plant

Concentrating Solar: A task force charged with addressing the burgeoning issue of bird and bat deaths at the Ivanpah solar plant in California's desert has dismissed many of the recommendations from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Bird Deaths Continue Through May at Ivanpah Solar

Bird Deaths Continue Through May at Ivanpah Solar

Concentrating Solar: The reported deaths at the solar power plant ebbed only slightly after peaking in April, and more than half of the carcasses showed signs of injury from the plant's concentrated solar energy.
California Denies Sierra Club Intervention On Large Solar Project

California Denies Sierra Club Intervention On Large Solar Project

Commentary: A state agency has turned down a request from the Sierra Club to become a formal legal party to proceedings regarding the proposed Palen Solar Electric Generating System in Riverside County. Here's why that matters.
April Was Bad Month for Birds at Ivanpah Solar

April Was Bad Month for Birds at Ivanpah Solar

Concentrating Solar: The April stats are in for reported bird deaths at the Ivanpah solar power plant in the California desert, and it's bad news: 97 birds were found killed or mortally injured between April 1 and 29 at the nearly 4,000-acre plant in San Bernardino County south of Las Vegas.
Opposition Grows To Proposed Solar Tower Project

Opposition Grows To Proposed Solar Tower Project

Concentrating Solar: When last ReWire checked in on the proposed Palen solar project, its builders were asking the California Energy Commission to restart hearings on the project. Now, it's becoming clear that there's significant opposition to putting the project back on the table -- including from the Commission's own staff.
Another Huge Solar Plant Goes Online in California's Desert

Another Huge Solar Plant Goes Online in California's Desert

Concentrating Solar: With a flick of a giant ceremonial switch but not much else in the way of fanfare, the Genesis Solar Energy Project has gone online in the eastern desert of Riverside County.
Bird Deaths Continue at Ivanpah Solar

Bird Deaths Continue at Ivanpah Solar

Concentrating Solar: Bird deaths continued in March at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in San Bernardino County, in the wake of worldwide press coverage of the effect of the project's concentrated solar "flux" on birds and other flying wildlife.
Ivanpah Solar Plant Owners Want To Burn a Lot More Natural Gas

Ivanpah Solar Plant Owners Want To Burn a Lot More Natural Gas

Concentrating Solar: Owners of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System have asked the California Energy Commission to change the project's license to allow Ivanpah to burn more than 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas a year.
Builder Wants Riverside County Solar Project Back on Table

Builder Wants Riverside County Solar Project Back on Table

Concentrating Solar: The companies behind a rejected solar project that would place boilers atop two 750-foot towers near Interstate 10 in Riverside County want their proposal back on the table, according to documents filed with the state's energy agency.
Fact Checking NASA: A Missed Landing on Ivanpah Dry Lake

Fact Checking NASA: A Missed Landing on Ivanpah Dry Lake

Commentary: We're huge fans of NASA's Earth Observatory website here at ReWire, so it pains us to report that the site got something badly wrong on Sunday. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System was not built "within Ivanpah Dry Lake," a.k.a "the playa." Here's why that mistake is important.
Desert Solar Power Plant a Risk to Air Safety, Say Pilots

Desert Solar Power Plant a Risk to Air Safety, Say Pilots

Concentrating Solar: Pilots flying both private and commercial aircraft near Las Vegas have filed complaints abut possible unsafe conditions caused by a large solar power plant in the Mojave Desert, according to documents filed with a state agency, and Las Vegas officials are urging the plant's designer to do something about the problem.
Mainstream Media Slams Ivanpah, California's Latest Solar Project

Mainstream Media Slams Ivanpah, California's Latest Solar Project

Commentary: Regardless of how individual press outlets reached their decisions on whether to include mention of solar flux wildlife injuries, it's strange and more than a little gratifying to see a story we broke here at ReWire grow wings and go worldwide.
Milestone: Ivanpah Solar Plant Formally Opens

Milestone: Ivanpah Solar Plant Formally Opens

Concentrating Solar: It's been a long road for the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, from its formal proposal by BrightSource Energy in 2007 through the well-publicized problems with desert wildlife some of which actually brought construction to a brief halt in 2011.
Ivanpah Solar Project Apparently Spent January Offline

Ivanpah Solar Project Apparently Spent January Offline

Concentrating Solar: According to reports provided by California's electrical power grid operator, the world's largest concentrating solar power plant spent a lot of its first month online being, well, not online.
Ivanpah Solar Project Quietly Goes Online  -- Or Does It?

Ivanpah Solar Project Quietly Goes Online -- Or Does It?

Concentrating Solar: News reports are saying that the world's largest concentrating solar facility went online in California's desert at the beginning of the month. But figures from the state's grid operator suggest that solar thermal power production in California actually cratered for most of the month.
Bird Deaths Continue at Ivanpah Solar as Tortoises Go Missing

Bird Deaths Continue at Ivanpah Solar as Tortoises Go Missing

Concentrating Solar: Bird deaths continue at a slower pace at the Ivanpah solar project, and tortoises continue to turn up missing.
Solar Orbs: Nice, But No Miracle

Solar Orbs: Nice, But No Miracle

Concentrating Solar: Gizmodo raves about a large glass orb that it says may change the way we use solar power even offering the possibility of generating power from moonlight. Sadly, though the device is pretty nifty, the numbers don't support the hype.
San Diego County Solar Project to Proceed Based On Illegal Science

San Diego County Solar Project to Proceed Based On Illegal Science

Photovoltaic (PV): San Diego County is working on approval of 1,490 acres of solar projects near the town of Boulevard based in part on wildlife studies performed illegally by a biologist later convicted in Federal court for related offenses.
Unusual Delay For Palen Solar Project

Unusual Delay For Palen Solar Project

Concentrating Solar: In an about-face, the proponents of a large solar project in the desert portions of Riverside County have asked for a delay in a state agency's final decision on the project. In a filing with the California Energy Commission (CEC) on Monday, Palen Solar Holdings (PSH), which wants to build a 500-megawatt concentrating solar project halfway between Blythe and Indio, is asking for at least a several month delay before the CEC makes its final decision on the project.
Reported Bird Injuries Down at Ivanpah Solar In November

Reported Bird Injuries Down at Ivanpah Solar In November

Concentrating Solar: While a drop in overall numbers of injured birds is certainly welcome news on the face of it, if the project poses a special risk to migrating birds its environmental impact could well extend across a startlingly wide swath of North America.
Major Solar Energy Project in Riverside County Could Be Doomed

Major Solar Energy Project in Riverside County Could Be Doomed

Concentrating Solar: The California Energy Commission is likely to deny approval to the Palen Solar Electric Generating System in Riverside County on the grounds that it may pose an unacceptable risk to birds and other wildlife.
Solar Power Tower Company: Our Competitors Kill Birds, Too

Solar Power Tower Company: Our Competitors Kill Birds, Too

Concentrating Solar: In a glance through a solar power tower developer's latest missive to the state agency considering it application for a Riverside County Project, ReWire spotted something interesting. The company seems to be throwing its solar industry colleagues under the bus on the issue of harm to wildlife from desert solar projects.
Green Groups, Agency Staff Urge 'No' on Palen Solar Project

Green Groups, Agency Staff Urge 'No' on Palen Solar Project

Concentrating Solar: The science is still out on whether a proposed solar power tower plant in Riverside County would pose too much risk to wildlife to justify its renewable energy benefits, they say.
Joshua Tree NP Uneasy About Solar Plant's Effect on Dark Skies, Birds, and Pollution

Joshua Tree NP Uneasy About Solar Plant's Effect on Dark Skies, Birds, and Pollution

Concentrating Solar: The National Park Service has made its opinion known on a proposed solar power tower project just outside the boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park. That opinion: scrap the project.
BrightSource Names Former Enron Exec as New CEO

BrightSource Names Former Enron Exec as New CEO

Concentrating Solar: BrightSource Energy makes it official: its acting CEO David Ramm gets to take that "acting" off his job description.
Ivanpah Solar Plant May Be Attracting Migrating Birds

Ivanpah Solar Plant May Be Attracting Migrating Birds

Concentrating Solar: Solar power facilities in the California desert may hurt wildlife populations from the Arctic to Panama.
Is the Palen Solar Power Project a Done Deal?

Is the Palen Solar Power Project a Done Deal?

Commentary: A document that took unusually long to be posted to the state's website seems to reveal something disquieting about the California Energy Commission.
'If a Bird Were To Fly Through That, It Would Catch On Fire'

'If a Bird Were To Fly Through That, It Would Catch On Fire'

Concentrating Solar: A proponent of and user of BrightSource's technology readily admitted on the public record that birds flying through the solar flux from a relatively small power tower project would burst into flame.
In 'Funnel Effect' Discussion, Fish & Wildlife to Further Study Solar Power Towers

In 'Funnel Effect' Discussion, Fish & Wildlife to Further Study Solar Power Towers

Concentrating Solar: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has responded to our story on its comments about a "funnel effect" at an unnamed solar facility.
Rumor Control: Ivanpah Solar Project Does Not Have Storage

Rumor Control: Ivanpah Solar Project Does Not Have Storage

Concentrating Solar: BrightSource has long said it needs to get a couple of its power tower solar energy projects under its belt before it can implement thermal storage capacity at later projects. But a recent profile of the Ivanpah plant says just the opposite.
Desert Solar Project Faces New Delay

Desert Solar Project Faces New Delay

Government: The people who want to build the 500-megawatt Palen Solar Electric Generating System in Riverside County have made no secret of the fact that delays in approval could doom the project. And now an odd bit of procedural wonkery threatens to add to that delay.
Solar Project Will Cause Unavoidable Damage to Wildlife

Solar Project Will Cause Unavoidable Damage to Wildlife

Concentrating Solar: The proposed Palen Solar Electric Generating System will cause damage to wild bird populations that cannot be mitigated, and poses significant risk to fringe-toed lizards and desert kit foxes as well according to testimony offered at a state agency hearing on the project. And part of the problem is that solar companies aren't monitoring wildlife injuries well enough.
Solar Project Comments Extended Due To Shutdown

Solar Project Comments Extended Due To Shutdown

Government: The Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday that it's extending the public comment period on a proposed desert solar project in Riverside County until November 14 to make up for October's shutdown of the federal government.
Hearings on Large Solar Project May Proceed Without Federal Input

Hearings on Large Solar Project May Proceed Without Federal Input

Government: As the federal government shutdown drags on through its third week, scheduled hearings by a state agency on a massive solar project in the California desert may lack input and guidance from a number of federal agencies charged with ensuring the project doesn't pose a danger to wildlife or public safety.
Solar Plant Generates Power For Six Hours After Sunset

Solar Plant Generates Power For Six Hours After Sunset

Concentrating Solar: A solar thermal power plant in the Arizona desert just showed that solar power doesn't have to stop working when the sun goes down. On Wednesday, Abengoa Solar announced that its 280-megawatt Solana plant near Gila Bend, Arizona, which just started delivering power to Arizona's largest utility, was able to keep putting out electrical power six hours after the sun set.
Shutdown Depriving Public of Right to Comment on Solar Project

Shutdown Depriving Public of Right to Comment on Solar Project

Government: The ongoing shutdown of the Federal government has thrown a monkey wrench into public review of a large solar power plant proposed for the California desert, and there's no way to find out how the federal government plans to address the issue.
August a Bad Month For Birds at Genesis Solar

August a Bad Month For Birds at Genesis Solar

Wildlife: More than 60 dead birds were found in August at the Genesis Solar Project west of Blythe in Riverside County. The bird species found range from an American kestrel to sparrows and doves, with a surprising number of brown-headed cowbirds among the casualties.
Ivanpah Solar Project Has a Bad Burned Bird Problem

Ivanpah Solar Project Has a Bad Burned Bird Problem

Concentrating Solar: A solar energy project in the California desert seems to have injured and killed a surprising number of birds in the first two and a half weeks of September, according to data furnished to a state agency. And more than half of those injuries have been linked by project biologists to the facility's concentrated solar energy.
Ivanpah Solar 'Syncs' To Grid For First Time

Ivanpah Solar 'Syncs' To Grid For First Time

Concentrating Solar: In a test announced by NRG Energy Tuesday, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System successfully delivered power to the grid for the first time.
Bird Deaths Mount at Ivanpah Solar

Bird Deaths Mount at Ivanpah Solar

Concentrating Solar: The Ivanpah solar project's owners reported seven birds found dead at the plant in August, at least one of them with burn injuries that may have been caused by the plant's concentrated solar energy. More such injuries have reportedly been occurring this month.
Feds To Investigate Water Bird Deaths at Solar Plants

Feds To Investigate Water Bird Deaths at Solar Plants

Wildlife: The Bureau of Land Management is forming a task force to investigate a spate of unexpected deaths of water birds at remote desert solar facilities.
Peregrine Falcon Dead at Ivanpah Solar Power Plant

Peregrine Falcon Dead at Ivanpah Solar Power Plant

Concentrating Solar: The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service confirms that a protected peregrine falcon was found severely injured on the site of BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah solar facility in September. It died shortly after. Solar flux is being eyed as a possible cause of death.
State Staff: Palen Solar Project Would Harm Views, Possibly Birds

State Staff: Palen Solar Project Would Harm Views, Possibly Birds

Concentrating Solar: The proposed solar power plant would have a "substantial adverse impact" on visual resources in Riverside County's Chuckwalla Valley, including the views from vantage points in two protected wildernesses and Joshua Tree National Park, according to a state assessment.
Quechan Tribe Says 'Not So Fast' on Large Solar Power Plant

Quechan Tribe Says 'Not So Fast' on Large Solar Power Plant

Concentrating Solar: The Quechan Indian Tribe minces no words about a proposed solar energy project in Riverside County.