TAVARES, Fla. – Tavares wants to buy a $1 million windmill that would go up on the tallest spot in the city, which is 105 feet above sea level between Lakes Harris and Dora, officials said.
Officials told WFTV they are researching if the winds are strong enough. They want it to power a city sewage plant.
Outside the Woodlea Wastewater Treatment Plant stands a tall flagpole. Each and every work day, Tavares Utilities Director Brad Hayes said he looks at it.
“It seems that every time I have someone out here trying to explain wind those flags aren’t flying,” said Hayes.
Hayes said that the spot of the flagpole is a place for a new windmill.
“The misconception is, everyone thinks these wind turbines need to have a lot of speed like they have up north,” said Hayes.
Experts said consistent wind speeds of three to five miles an hour are all it takes to turn turbines like those along the turnpike in Sumter County.
Hayes said it can generate enough electricity to help run the city’s sewage plant, cutting the plant’s $15,000 monthly power bill by nearly a third.
Officials said the turbine would be placed atop the the city’s highest spot a few hundred yards from the plant. It’s geographically located between two of the region’s biggest lakes, which will naturally create a breeze.
Hayes said he has a color-coded map to prove it.
“The yellow area is saying we have a consistent wind speed, approximately five miles per hour or greater,” said Hayes.
Hayes insists that’s all it would take to save Tavares taxpayers up to $5,000 a month, helping to hold utility rates steady.
“At the end of the year, it’s a lot of money, and that’s my goal,” said Hayes.
The City Council said it has hired a consultant for $9,500 to study the wind.
If there’s a big enough blow, the city can qualify for state and federal grants to pay for the $1 million windmill.