Have you heard about the funnel effect? It appears solar plants can draw in millions of insects and fry them. And then migratory birds drop in to eat the insects and the birds then get fried too.
“USFWS also noted an issue ReWire hasn’t covered before, and we suspect it has something to do with that funnel effect: the mortality of insects. The agency says the Palen solar project may have a serious effect on insects, based on experience at BrightSource’s Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) site, now nearing completion in San Bernardino County. “Staff with the CEC reported large mortalities of insects killed during flux testing at the ISEGS site,” says USFWS. “[A]mong those documented include migratory monarch butterflies and dragonflies.”
A subsequent passage in the note on insects is an important summary of the relevance of insect mortalities to risk to other wildlife:
The ecological effects of mass insect mortalities have not been investigated
and may lead to greater levels of mortality than have been anticipated. In particular,
concentrations of insects are likely to draw insectivorous and omnivorous migratory
birds, including many raptors, which may increase the risk of bird mortalities.
If you have a facility that both attracts an entire food chain and then poses a risk of mortality or injury to individual animals at any level in that chain, then you’ve created an ecosystem-wide population sink that can metaphorically “funnel” individual animals from a wide stretch of habitat to a single spot where they meet their demise.