Wind farms are under discussion in Livingston County, but the County Board has done nothing official beyond accepting an application and hiring consultants to study it.
“Basically in an informal term, we say thank you for the applications and then put it on file,” said Jeanne Rapp, chairwoman of the County Board’s agriculture and zoning committee. “It is now the county’s responsibility to review those applications and go through the proper channels and then give a public meeting.”
Last week, the board has hired the Chicago law firm of Schain, Burney, Ross and Citron Ltd., which has practices in environmental law and land-use regulation. In June, it hired Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, a firm with Chicago offices and specializing in environmental issues, in June.
One developer has filed an application, and another is expected to file one next month.
PPM Energy of Portland, Ore., has filed a request as Heartland Wind with the county’s zoning office to build 323 wind turbines in Livingston County. The total project is 373 wind turbines.
The Streator Cayuga Ridge wind farm is slated for two phases, according to PPM Energy’s application. Streator Cayuga Ridge South would have 154 turbines south of Interstate 55 and east of Odell. Streator Cayuga Ridge North would have 169 turbines west of Interstate 55 in Livingston County and 50 turbines north of Illinois 17 in LaSalle County.
Rapp said the firms will review the application for all legal criteria before public hearings will be scheduled. The application also still must go through review and hearings before the Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
County Board Chairman William Flott said he understands how this could be a big issue for Livingston County and respects the rights of all people involved.
“We must recognize that individual landowners can do what they want on their own land and recognize that other citizens of the county have some rights too,” Flott said.
Rapp said PPM has spent more than 18 months signing landowners for turbine sites.
Horizon Wind Energy, the company constructing the Twin Groves Wind Farm in eastern McLean County, has announced it intends to file its application in August with Livingston County to build a wind farm in the Cayuga Ridge area.
“It’s going to be tough call on how we are going to decide and deal with both of those companies all in the same location,” Flott said.
Wind farm projects
McLean County: The $500 million Twin Groves Wind Farm is among the nation’s largest wind farms. The project, by Texas-based Horizon Wind Energy, already includes 240 turbines, and may be expanded to add another 170 towers.
McLean/Woodford counties: Chicago-based Invenergy Wind plans to build the White Oak Wind Energy Center, a 100-turbine wind farm stretching from Carlock to Hudson. The estimated $250 million project faces a lawsuit from opponents.
Benson: Iberdrola, a Spanish company that purchased the 79-turbine Benson Wind Farm from Navitas Energy of Minneapolis, has restarted the application process for the $260 million project. The company wants to increase the tower size from 400 feet to 475 feet.
El Paso: Minnesota-based Navitas Energy wants to build a 42-turbine wind farm on the west side of El Paso. Construction is planned for 2009, but the company still needs governmental approvals and permits. Public hearings began this week.
Minonk: Navitas Energy planning a 100-turbine wind farm near Minonk in Woodford and Livingston counties. Construction would not begin until at least 2009.
Livingston County: Horizon Wind Energy is considering a 600-megawatt wind farm six miles north of Pontiac near Blackstone and Odell. The project calls for up to 200 towers on 25,000 acres of land. Pending approval, construction wouldn’t begin until 2008, and Horizon is in the preliminary planning stages.
Livingston County: Invenergy wants about 20,000 acres near Chatsworth and Forrest to build a 266-turbine wind farm to churn out 266 megawatts of power. The company plans to seek permits this year.
Livingston/LaSalle counties: PPM energy of Portland, Oregon, operating as Heartland Wind, wants to build a project totaling 373-turbines in Livingston and LaSalle counties. The $1.5 billion Streator Cayuga Ridge wind farm is slated for two phases: Streator Cayuga Ridge South would have 154 turbines south of Interstate 55 and east of Odell. Streator Cayuga Ridge North would have 169 turbines west of Interstate 55 in Livingston County and 50 turbines north of Illinois 17 in LaSalle County.
By Tony Sapochetti
26 July 2007
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