October 29, 2010

Clemson University Breaks Ground On $98 Million Wind Turbine Testing Facility

Clemson University broke ground Thursday at what will be the world’s largest wind-turbine drive-train testing facility, and in doing so marked another milestone in South Carolina’s burgeoning wind-energy industry.

Members of the South Carolina Legislature, the state’s congressional delegation and industry executives joined university officials at the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston to mark the official start of construction of the $98 million one-of-a-kind project.

The testing facility will be housed in a former Navy warehouse adjacent to existing rail and ship-handling infrastructure. Planning and construction of the facility is under way and it is expected to begin operating in 2012.

It will be capable of full-scale highly accelerated testing of advanced drive-train systems for wind turbines in the 5 megawatt to 15 megawatt range with a 30 percent overload capacity. A drive train takes energy generated by a turbine’s blades and increases the rotational speed to drive the electrical generator, similar to the transmission in a car.

In November 2009, the Restoration Institute and its partners were awarded a $45 million U.S. Department of Energy grant, which was combined with $53 million of matching funds, to build and operate the large-scale testing facility for next-generation wind turbine drive trains at the institute’s research campus on the former Navy base.

The award was the largest single grant ever received by Clemson University. It was made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The university’s partners are: the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority; the S.C. Department of Commerce; the state of South Carolina; South Carolina Public Railways, the S.C. State Ports Authority; and private partners RENK AG, Tony Bakker and James Meadors.

Source : Clemson University Newsroom

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