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Carmel ponders windmill power

Fields of large energy-producing windmills are being touted as one of the solutions to America’s dependence on fossil fuels from other nations. But how about in Carmel, Indiana? It’s a idea that is currently blowing in the wind.

In Carmel the Monon can help your health, the roundabouts can save you time and the city is currently exploring a new way of saving taxpayers money.

“The goal would be to, per windmill, save $100,000 to $150,000 a year,” said Mayor Jim Brainard (R-Carmel).

The city is exploring using wind turbines to provide electricity to the sanitary sewage plant at 96th and Hazel Dell and a new water plant that is already in the plans for that same area.

“When that construction is complete in about three years at today’s prices we will be using $800,000 worth of electricity. So I just asked the question, would it make sense if we could generate some of that electricity ourselves?” said Mayor Brainard.

It should take the City of Carmel about a year to determine if there is enough wind out there to make this project work.

In a matter of weeks the city will construct a 180-foot tall tower on the east side of Hazel Dell between 96 and 108th to see if the city has enough wind to make this work.

“Anything we can do to help save on costs and save on our natural resources would be a terrific thing,” said Julie Gearing, Carmel.

“Wind power. If it works, great and if it keeps costs down in operating those filtration plants, then how can it be bad?” said Paul Lunsford, Carmel.

Mayor Brainard says the city may even have the opportunity of selling electricity to other utilities or to neighboring Fishers. The wind test will determine the feasibility and the number of windmills but the mayor says it will not be a windmill farm like Bowling Green, Ohio is currently using for its utilities. Brainard says the city is working with the FAA on the size and placement of the test tower which should be in place in about three weeks.

“If we can use the wind to do it, I think it would be a very interesting project,” said Brainard.

It’s Carmel’s chance not only to chase the wind but to harness it.

Kevin Rader

Eyewitness News