Wind power drivetrain testing plant opens in South Carolina

Led by Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, the facility will help test and validate new turbines, particularly for offshore wind

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman joined with officials from Clemson University to dedicate an advanced wind energy testing facilities in North Charleston, S.C.

Led by Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, the facility will help test and validate new turbines, particularly for offshore wind — helping to speed deployment of next generation energy technology, reduce costs for manufacturers and boost global competitiveness for American companies.

Wind testing facilities — like the one in South Carolina — are attracting companies from around the world to design and test their turbines and creating new jobs and opportunities for American workers and businesses.

Located at a former Navy warehouse with easy access to rail and water transport, the Clemson facility will test machinery that converts both onshore and offshore wind to electricity and allow engineers to simulate 20 years’ worth of wear and tear on drivetrains in a few months. The facility’s proximity to the coast also makes it ideal for U.S. and international companies to testing larger offshore wind turbines.

Supported by a $47 million Department of Energy investment as well as about $60 million in outside funding, the facility is equipped with two testing bays — for up to 7.5 MW and 15 MW drivetrains, respectively.

The facility will also feature a grid simulator that mimics real-world conditions and can help private industry and public researchers better study interactions between wind energy technologies and the U.S. power grid.

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