New wind turbines to power Fort Lauderdale

Four 50-foot turbines can produce 36 kilowatts

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Those driving down I-95 near Oakland Park Boulevard recently may have witnessed the new wind turbines that will soon provide power to Fort Lauderdale.

"We actually hope as people drive by they say, 'What are those?'" said Mayor Jack Seiler.

The $400,000 renewable wind energy project was completely paid for with federal grants.

Seiler said the wind turbines were strategically placed to also send a message.

"I think the message is that the city of Fort Lauderdale is leading the way in sustainability and renewable energy," said Seiler.

The four turbines can produce 36 kilowatts.

"It is fed into the wind interface box and then it goes into the inverter," said Jacob Mukai, project manager.

Thirty-six kilowatts is enough electricity to run a new electric vehicle charging station with multiple chargers in their shadow and probably a lot more, but until the turbines go operational next friday, the city isn't sure how much surplus electricity they will have to power the field lights in Mills Pond Park.

The 50-foot turbines can also withstand hurricane force winds up to 156 miles per hour. The turbine blades themselves are extremely light weight, but they are made of a super strong carbon fiber composite.

"The blades are 18 feet long," said Mukai.

"This is a vertical axis machine, which means they spin more like a top and they are almost artistic looking," said Bob Everhard, with Alternate Energy Company. "They are really a good looking wind turbine. They also are very quiet and they spin at a slower speed, so it is less likely for bird strikes and things like that."

Similar turbines were just installed atop the Hilton Beach Resort but while solar is still superior in Florida, the wind is beginning to blow.

"Yeah, we have other projects in the works and I can barely keep up," said Mukai.

The company hopes to have them spinning and online next Friday. Local 10 is told there is something called "turbine tourism," where people around the world are drawn to wind turbine installations. A few tourists may visit the city to see the new wind turbines.