FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It makes the Palm trees rustle and gives the Pelicans a free ride. And now, new turbines atop the Hilton Beach Resort in Ft. Lauderdale are about to tap into one of Mother Nature's most potent power sources: Wind.
Over the past month, engineers have been erecting and tweaking the six masts and turbines that sit 26 floors above A1A.
The Hilton Beach Resort is the first hotel in Fort Lauderdale with wind turbines and the first Hilton worldwide to go green with this technology but the cost might blow you away.
"It is over $500,000 and it is going to save about 5 to 10 percent of our energy costs in annual energy," said hotel Marketing Director Brigette Bienvenu.
That current energy bill is the same as their investment, about a half million dollars a year. Hilton hopes to save $25,000 to $50,000 a year, making their money back in just 10 to 20 years.
"Mostly the wind is coming from the ocean, but either Dyna-max can catch from every angle," said Hotel Director of Operations Tamas Vago
In 2007, just one year after opening, the 374-suite luxury resort was designated Fort Lauderdale the first Florida Green Lodging property on Fort Lauderdale Beach. And now, with the wind at their back, energy conservation should be a breeze.
Right now all six wind turbines are folded down into their hurricane position. That's because they don't have their final inspection just yet. But when they are ready, they will raise them up with a hydraulic motor. Once they are in place 50 feet into the air, the turbines will be able to withstand 150 mile per hour winds.
But they didn't just think about safety. They didn't want them to be unsightly.
"They are pieces of art and that was our goal," Vago said. "Since the beginning, we tried to select something which fits into the environment and fits into the surroundings of this beautiful beach."