The possibility of more wind farms in Livingston County means more work for consultants reviewing applications for the County Board.
The board is expected to vote Thursday to have Conestoga-Rovers and Associates and law firm Schain, Burney, Ross and Citron, both with offices in Chicago, look at last month’s application from Horizon Wind Energy.
Texas-based Horizon has proposed a new wind farm in the same areas of Livingston and LaSalle counties already under consideration by another developer, PPM Energy of Portland, Ore.
And two more developers are looking at Livingston County sites.
The county hired the two consulting firms in July to review the PPM application.
“We have already hired them, and if they are competent enough to scrutinize the PPM applications then they are competent enough to scrutinize this application,” said John Goembel, vice chairman of the County Board’s agriculture and zoning committee.
Horizon has submitted an application for Top Crop Wind Farm, which would have about 200 turbines on 18,200 acres in the Cayuga Ridge area near the towns of Blackstone, Odell, Pontiac and Ransom.
PPM Energy is looking to build 373 turbines on 36,000 acres in the same areas of Livingston and LaSalle counties.
Each wind farm application carries a $25,000 fee, which pays for the consulting work.
Neither company has sent a complete application or completed in-depth studies of noise, effects on birds and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
Once complete applications are received, then the process of setting public hearings can begin. Chuck Schopp, Livingston County zoning administrator, said those hearings usually take six weeks to set up, but there is no certain way to determine how long they will take.
“Right now, we are expecting it to take multiple nights,” Schopp said. “And it can take anywhere from four to 20 nights.”
Navitas Energy, based in Minneapolis, Minn., is planning the Minonk Windfarm, which would have around 100 turbines in Minonk Township in Woodford County and Nebraska Township of Livingston County, according to Wanda Davies, junior project developer for Navitas.
Davies said a majority of the turbines will be in Woodford County, but some will be in the Flanagan area.
Navitas is still talking with landowners, but she said an application may be submitted by next fall.
Joel Link, deputy director of programs and support services for Invenergy LLC, which has offices in Chicago, said his company has secured land and is evaluating the site layout and conducting environmental studies before submitting an application.
Link said the project would be built in phases with the first phase having about 100 turbines. The exact number of turbines in continuing phases is yet to be determined.
Link also said he would not give out the exact location of the turbines for competitive reasons.
Also, a time frame for when Invenergy will submit an application is yet to be determined.
By Tony Sapochetti
5 October 2007
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