News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.
Wildlife
Court Sends 30-Year Eagle Kill Permits Back to Drawing Board

Court Sends 30-Year Eagle Kill Permits Back to Drawing Board

Commentary: U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service staff had told Director Dan Ashe that his eagle "take permit" policy was scientifically and legally unsound. Now a federal judge has backed them up.
Solar Plant Likely Killed 3,500 Birds in 1st Year

Solar Plant Likely Killed 3,500 Birds in 1st Year

Solar: Some new, startling figures have been published about the likely wildlife impact of a controversial solar facility in the Mojave Desert.
Study Proves How Little We Know About Wind Power and Eagle Mortality

Study Proves How Little We Know About Wind Power and Eagle Mortality

Commentary: We have better, more solid data on planets outside our solar system than we do on eagle mortalities at wind energy plants in California. Why is that?
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Work on Solar Project Halted to Protect Lizard

Work on Solar Project Halted to Protect Lizard

Solar: Work has halted on a solar power facility in Imperial County due to the possibility that a rare lizard on site may be listed as an endangered species by the state.
Group Wants Independent Review of Wind Power Wildlife Deaths

Group Wants Independent Review of Wind Power Wildlife Deaths

Wind: A national bird protection group is asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to require independent, third-party monitoring of bird and bat deaths at wind power facilities across the country, calling the current self-reporting system a "conflict of interest" that benefits energy companies.
Bird Conservation Group Wants Tighter Controls on Wind Industry

Bird Conservation Group Wants Tighter Controls on Wind Industry

Wind: A national bird protection group is calling on the federal government to require wind energy operators to get permits to kill birds that are protected under one of the nation's oldest environmental laws.
Another Eagle Death at Nevada Wind Project

Another Eagle Death at Nevada Wind Project

Wind: A wind energy facility in eastern Nevada killed its second golden eagle in January, and environmentalists are demanding action from the federal government to prevent more eagle deaths there.
Wind Company Convicted in Deaths of Eagles, Other Birds

Wind Company Convicted in Deaths of Eagles, Other Birds

Wind: A Portland-based wind energy company that recently sued the federal government to keep its bird death data secret has been convicted in federal court over deaths of protected birds at two of its wind facilities in Wyoming.
It's Time for Independent Monitoring of Wildlife Kills at Renewable Energy Sites

It's Time for Independent Monitoring of Wildlife Kills at Renewable Energy Sites

Commentary: A recent lawsuit raises a question that's beginning to be asked by any number of people watching the renewable energy industry: Why do we trust renewable energy companies to report on their own wildlife kills?
Feds Deny Solar Project Near Mojave National Preserve

Feds Deny Solar Project Near Mojave National Preserve

Solar: A controversial large solar project that would have occupied more than 1,600 acres along the main scenic route between two desert National Parks won't be happening, it was announced Friday.
Feds Broke Law Approving Wind Project Near Eagle Nests, Lawsuit Claims

Feds Broke Law Approving Wind Project Near Eagle Nests, Lawsuit Claims

Wind: A San Diego County-based conservation group and two area residents have sued the federal government over its approval of a wind project they say poses an unlawful risk to golden eagles.
Report Shows Need to Protect Bird Habitat While Fighting Climate Change

Report Shows Need to Protect Bird Habitat While Fighting Climate Change

Commentary: A recent report by the Audubon Society underscores the dire future North American birds face if we don't act now to stem climate change. But that doesn't let industrial renewable energy facilities off the hook for harm they cause birds.
Feds Set To Issue First Eagle Kill Permit To California Wind Facility

Feds Set To Issue First Eagle Kill Permit To California Wind Facility

Wind: The 100-megawatt facility will be allowed to kill up to five golden eagles over a five-year period without incurring penalties under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
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.
Fed Agency OKs Controversial Power Storage Project Near Joshua Tree NP

Fed Agency OKs Controversial Power Storage Project Near Joshua Tree NP

Technology: A federal agency has given the go-ahead to a power storage project adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park that opponents say could seriously harm both the park's wildlife and local groundwater.
Conservationists Sue Feds Over Wind Turbine Eagle Rule

Conservationists Sue Feds Over Wind Turbine Eagle Rule

Wind: A group of individual conservationists and a national bird protection organization have sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency's decision to extend the length of permits issued to the wind power industry to kill bald and golden eagles.
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.
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.
Feds Evaluating Another Wind Project in Condor Country

Feds Evaluating Another Wind Project in Condor Country

Wind: The BLM says a proposed 1,100-acre wind energy facility in Kern County would pose no threat to the Endangered California condors living a few miles away.
Sorting Fact From Fiction on Chinese Solar In Nevada

Sorting Fact From Fiction on Chinese Solar In Nevada

Commentary: Regardless of what you've heard, the BLM didn't round up Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's cattle from public lands to pave the way for a Chinese solar project.
Federal Lab Offers Grim Look at Solar Harm to Wildlife

Federal Lab Offers Grim Look at Solar Harm to Wildlife

Solar: A report just made public by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service documents a disturbing amount of bird injuries at three large California desert solar power plants, and says that there are no easy fixes to the issue.
Bad News For Big Desert Solar: Arid Lands Absorb Greenhouse Gases

Bad News For Big Desert Solar: Arid Lands Absorb Greenhouse Gases

Climate Change: The debate over whether utility-scale solar projects are right for desert public lands just got more complicated. A new study shows that undisturbed desert landscapes absorb a fair amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, potentially helping to lessen climate change.
Committee Hearing on Wind Energy and Eagles Deadlocks in Partisan Posturing

Committee Hearing on Wind Energy and Eagles Deadlocks in Partisan Posturing

Commentary: What could have been an informative and illuminating hearing on Obama administration policy regarding wildlife and renewable energy turned out to be nearly two hours of partisan posturing.
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.
Fracking Waste is Being Dumped Into the Ocean Off California's Coast

Fracking Waste is Being Dumped Into the Ocean Off California's Coast

Petroleum: If you have an uneasy feeling about where California's offshore rigs dispose of their fracking wastewater, you may well be correct. About half of the state's offshore rigs pump at least some of their wastewater right into the Santa Barbara Channel.
Opposition Mounts to Solar Project On Mojave Preserve Boundary

Opposition Mounts to Solar Project On Mojave Preserve Boundary

Photovoltaic (PV): If discussion at a recent gathering of desert activists is any indication, a nearly 4,200-acre solar project proposed by Bechtel for a valley adjoining the Mojave National Preserve will encounter near-unanimous opposition from green groups.
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.
A Possible First: Lawsuit Over Birds Stops Federal Wind Energy Project

A Possible First: Lawsuit Over Birds Stops Federal Wind Energy Project

Wind: This is well outside California, but it may well have ramifications in the Golden State: A lawsuit threatened by a pair of bird conservation groups has halted a wind power development the federal government had planned along the Lake Erie shore in Ohio.
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.
SDG&E, Montana Wind Company in Flap Over Eagles

SDG&E, Montana Wind Company in Flap Over Eagles

Wind: SDG&E says it's backing out of a $285 million deal because the operator of the 189-megawatt Rim Rock wind facility near Cut Bank, Montana failed to live up to a number of terms in the companies' agreement, mainly having to do with wildlife protection. But NaturEner, the owner of the 126-turbine facility, counters that the utility is merely suffering "buyer's remorse."
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.
Wind Group Wants More Concessions on Eagle Kill Permit Rules

Wind Group Wants More Concessions on Eagle Kill Permit Rules

Wind: After the news broke Friday morning that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to extend the reach of wind industry permits to kill bald and golden eagles, a national wind industry trade group is lauding the move, but saying the industry needs more concessions from those charged with protecting eagles.
Money Trumps Science? Feds Broaden Eagle-Kill Law, Enviro Groups Angry

Money Trumps Science? Feds Broaden Eagle-Kill Law, Enviro Groups Angry

Commentary: In a long-anticipated move that has prompted howls of outrage from conservation groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will be extending the maximum length of the permits it's granting wind facility operators to injure or kill bald and golden eagles.
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.
Dead Raptor Near Imperial County Wind Project Raises New Concerns About Wildlife Impacts

Dead Raptor Near Imperial County Wind Project Raises New Concerns About Wildlife Impacts

Wind: The discovery last week of a dead hawk in the hills between the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility and the Sunrise Powerlink has residents of the nearby town of Ocotillo concerned about how their local raptors are faring with more than 100 new wind turbines in their town.
Judge Throws Out Suit Against Ocotillo Wind

Judge Throws Out Suit Against Ocotillo Wind

Wind: A Southern California judge has ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service paid enough attention to the welfare of Endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep when it assessed the environmental effects of an Imperial County wind facility near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Company Pleads Guilty in Eagle Deaths at Wind Energy Facility

Company Pleads Guilty in Eagle Deaths at Wind Energy Facility

Wind: A subsidiary of the nation's largest electrical power company was sentenced Friday over deaths of 14 golden eagles and more than 140 other protected birds at its wind facilities. The sentence marks the first successful prosecution of a wind energy company for violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Study: California Wind Power is the Worst For Wildlife

Study: California Wind Power is the Worst For Wildlife

Wind: California wind turbines kill more wildlife per megawatt than identical turbines in other parts of the country, according to a new study by two Smithsonian Institution researchers and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist.
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.
'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.
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.
Comment Period Extended on Controversial Wind Eagle Take Permit

Comment Period Extended on Controversial Wind Eagle Take Permit

Wildlife: Here's another ripple from October's shutdown of the federal government: An has pushed back the deadline for public comments on a Northern California wind project's application to be allowed to kill eagles.
Solar Power Project on Indian Reservation Not Immune From Tortoise Trouble

Solar Power Project on Indian Reservation Not Immune From Tortoise Trouble

Wildlife: It's a compelling, heroic narrative, but the usual suspects that impact large solar projects have reared their heads again.
Plastic Owls Proposed as Bird Safety Measure at Large Solar Project

Plastic Owls Proposed as Bird Safety Measure at Large Solar Project

Wildlife: As evidence mounts that the Palen solar project's mirrors and concentrated solar energy each pose risks to wild birds, the project's backers have proposed a plan to reduce bird injuries that includes using plastic owls.
Ivanpah Solar Bird Kill Count Rises

Ivanpah Solar Bird Kill Count Rises

Wildlife: According to documents the plant's owners filed with the California Energy Commission a total of thirty dead birds were found at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in September, with 14 reported as showing signs of burn injuries.
2 Desert Solar Plants May Harm Thousands of Tortoises

2 Desert Solar Plants May Harm Thousands of Tortoises

Wildlife: A federal agency estimates that more than 2,000 desert tortoises may currently occupy the sites of a pair of large planned desert solar projects that would straddle the California/Nevada state line, but says developing the projects won't harm the species.
Death Data: Why Tracking Dead Wildlife at Renewable Energy Sites is Important

Death Data: Why Tracking Dead Wildlife at Renewable Energy Sites is Important

Commentary: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has, in effect, refused to enforce several wildlife protection laws against renewable energy companies, even as those companies' threats to wildlife have mounted.
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.