FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — The next time you drive on I-95 in Fort Lauderdale keep your eyes out for the big, green windmills. They’re actually wind turbines designed to harness the wind’s power to create sustainable energy to improve the environment.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler is excited about the $200,000 project, which is being paid for through a federal grant.
“We owe it to our kids and our grandkids to do something and make a difference,” Seiler told CBS 4’s Carey Codd.
Seiler said the energy from the turbines will be used to power four electric car charging stations inside Mills Pond Park, where the turbines are housed. He said any leftover power will be sent to the city’s electric grid. Seiler hopes the real payoff from these turbines comes in the form of conversation especially from kids playing in the park asking questions of their parents.
“‘Mom, dad, what is that all about? Is that something I should know more about?'” Seiler imagines the children saying. “Mom and Dad can explain, ‘Hey, the City of Fort Lauderdale is doing something about renewable energy, trying to preserve our environment, protect our resources.'”
Fort Lauderdale knows a bit about environmental struggles. Remember the massive flooding and damage to A1A caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012? Seiler says the city became more focused on environmental issues, like rising seas, after that.
The first turbine went up inside the park on Wednesday and some people wondered what they were.
“I thought it was a big fan or something,” said Karim Rashedul, who added that he thinks they’re a great idea.
Seiler said these are first turbines the city has built but he pointed out that the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort built 6 windmills on top of their hotel and he said they’re about to start operating at the end of the month.
Seiler said it’s incumbent upon local leaders to make positive environmental changes if state leaders will not.
“The cities have decided that if the state government’s not going to step up, we’ll step up and lead the way,” Seiler said.