"The concern is that there could be some concentration of migratory birds or that they might for some reason be at a low altitude, but that has not proven to be the case," McAndrew said. "In fact I don't think there are studies anywhere in New York that have found that there are locations that are particularly troublesome."
The visual analysis will be used to determine how much the wind turbines stand out from certain locations. McAndrew said that researchers start with a computer model that indicates where it might be possible to "catch a glimpse" of a wind turbine. Next, a crew will fly balloons at the same height as the top of the turbine, while a second group of researchers travels along nearby roads, recording whether or not they had a view of the turbine.
McAndrew says the studies showed that the location picked by Adirondack Wind Partners poses no threat to migrating birds and could not be seen from the roadside in the surrounding area.
"As far as all of the study requirements are concerned, everything is looking good," McAndrew added. "Now it's a matter of finishing up several other studies. Again, at this point it's hard to say when we'll submit our application."
The Adirondack Wind Partners website says the 10 turbines could produce 30 megawatts of power and supply electricity to half of the 26,000 homes in Warren County.
McAndrew noted that the project would also create jobs for surrounding communities and provide a significant source of tax revenue. Adirondack environmental groups have been split over the project.
Some - like the Adirondack Council and Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks - have raised concerns about the potential impact the turbines could have on birds and other wildlife. They've also raised concerns about the visual impacts of putting large wind turbines on ridgelines.
But others - like Greenpeace and environmental author Bill McKibben - have said the alternative energy project will help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and curb global warming.