A cutting-edge solar technology in California's Mojave Desert may have a bit too much cut. Wildlife officials say they've counted one bird being scorched to death every two minutes by intensely focused rays of light at the BrightSource Energy plant, considered the largest solar thermal power plant of its kind in the world.
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System uses more than 300,000 mirrors the size of garage doors to focus the sun's power toward "power towers" as many as 40 stories tall, and can power as many as 140,000 homes. Google is one of three owners of the plant at Ivanpah Dry Lake, near the Nevada border.
Light beams from the $2.2 billion plant that opened in February are said to be so bright they dazzle pilots coming in and out of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, reports the AP.
The birds igniting in midair are thought to come in droves because they are following bugs that are attracted to the light.