Builders of large solar array farms in Israel’s Negev region and in places like California’s Mojave Desert have had ongoing problems with nature lovers , environmentalists, and Native American Tribes .
It now appears that the environmentalists in Israel may be winning out on efforts to build giant solar array farms in the Negev and Arava regions. A recent study conducted by Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) indicates that building such projects could be fatal to thousands of wild animals that live in the fragile ecosystem of these desert regions.
Will solar mirrors blind animals?
The idea of constructing large solar energy array farms has been in the works for several years now.
They will be similar to projects in the USA, where companies like Brightsource have been trying to build huge solar energy farms on supposedly vacant land in California’s Mojave Desert and on “coyote land” in neighboring Nevada .
In the case of the Negev, the NPA now claims that constructing such solar farms will destroy the area’s already endangered eco-system which is home to wildlife species such as desert gazelles , Nubian Ibexes, spotted hyenas, desert cats; and several species of desert dwelling birds, including sand partridges, Huobara Bustards (large desert birds resembling turkeys), and several species of raptors.
Similar battles between solar energy advocates and environmentalists in California have caused problems for Brightsouce and other companies like Solar Millennium, which have also been accused of wanting to build these large solar farms on sacred Native American burial sites .
In California, indigenous desert tortoises will be “relocated” to make room for the solar energy farms. You might wonder how many of these slow moving desert dwellers we’re talking about, and how the solar energy companies expect to round them up in order to move them elsewhere.
Israel’s Negev region, despite composing a large part of the county’s total land area, is still small in comparison to California’s desert regions. NPA’s Doron Rotem, the author of the report, says that constructing the solar farms “will without question harm the area’s wildlife, especially birds that could become blinded by large solar mirrors, and bats which could fly into either mirrors or solar panels during nighttime foraging flights. The study concludes that these projects are better suited to areas where infrastructures are already present.
Viablealternative:rooftop solar energy plants
A viable alternative is the construction of numerous “roof top” solar energy plants atop commercial buildings and even private homes.
Projects of this kind are in progress throughout Israel. Solar Power claims it can construct its plants to create solar energy “virtually anywhere” .
Ibex Photo via NPA
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