Renewable energy project in the N Cape responsible for hundreds of bird deaths: Ecologist

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Renewable energy may be an asset in the fight against global warming but it seems green energy may be showing local birdlife the red card.

An ecologist has found that a renewable energy project near Upington in the Northern Cape has been responsible for hundreds of bird deaths.

The Khi Solar One concentrated solar plant outside Upington is the first in Africa.

4200 solar panels direct heat to the tower, which heats steam to 500 degrees Celcius so it can turn a turbine at the top of the tower, creating energy.

A study by Stellenbosch University master degree student, H.P van Heerden, found that the solar plant is destroying birdlife in the area.

“There was a decline in species richness or diversity if you want to call it that and there was also notable situation where we noticed that birds were less inclined to breed on the site than the adjacent natural habitats.”

Africa is said to be amongst the most vulnerable continents experiencing serious changes in its climate patterns. Recent droughts and high levels of temperatures is proof that Africa needs to join the world in finding solutions to decrease global warming by 1.5-degrees Celsius.

Researchers have warned that marine clouds that protect us from hothouse earth conditions by reflecting sunlight back into space could break up and vanish if CO2 in the atmosphere triples.

Renewable energy project in Northern Cape causes bird deaths: