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PONTIAC - A hearing for the first power company wanting to build a wind farm on Cayuga Ridge in Livingston County could be scheduled later this summer.

A second company is getting ready to file its applications to build in the same area.

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 be 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.

Livingston County planning and zoning administrator Chuck Schopp said it is going to take some time to review PPM Energy's application. He said he believes the project will go before the planning commission in late summer or early fall. The application also will be reviewed by the Livingston County Board.

Jesper Michaelsen, project developer for PPM Energy, said the site is a great combination of strong winds and strong transmission lines.

"We are very serious about Illinois as a host for wind energy projects," Michaelsen said.

PPM Energy is looking to invest $1.5 billion into the Streator Cayuga Ridge project if it is approved by Livingston and LaSalle counties. According to its application with the county, PPM Energy operates 17 wind farms in 10 states, with three projects pending.

PPM Energy has been studying the winds on Cayuga Ridge for several years. Commonwealth Edison has six transmission lines in the project area.

Michaelsen said the energy would feed into the electrical system through ComEd's transmission lines, but the electricity generated by the proposed wind farm could be purchased by any electrical provider in the system.

The energy generated by the Streator Cayuga Ridge project could power about 180,000 homes, Michaelsen said.

The Cayuga Ridge area is a good location for wind, added Bill Whitlock from Horizon Wind.

"A good site is always competitive, and this is a good site," Whitlock said.

Horizon, the company constructing the Twin Groves Wind Farm in eastern McLean County, intends to file its application in August with Livingston County to build a wind farm in the Cayuga Ridge area, Whitlock said. He did not have the size of the project available.

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