Environmental Protection

Engineers can use the facility to simulate 20 years

World-Class Wind Energy Testing Facility Opens in South Carolina

Officials from Clemson University, Duke Energy, SCE&G, and the U.S. Department of Energy participated in the dedication of the SCE&G Energy Innovation Center on Nov. 21.

Officials from two big utilities and the U.S. Department of Energy participated in the Nov. 21 dedication at Clemson University of the SCE&G Energy Innovation Center. Located at the campus of the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston, S.C., it is described by these organizations as the world’s most advanced energy systems testing and research center. DOE calls it the nation’s largest wind energy testing facility.

Researchers at the facility will test and validate new turbines, particularly for offshore wind energy. Duke Energy contributed $5 million for the center, which includes the Duke Energy eGRID — Electrical Grid Research Innovation and Development — center to support work to bring new electrical technologies to the marketplace.

SCE&G is a utility serving residents of South Carolina; it donated $3.5 million for the center. DOE contributed $47 million for the facility, which has two testing bays that can accommodate up to 7.5-megawatt and 15-megawatt wind turbine drivetrains, according to DOE's news release.

"Developing America's vast renewable energy resources is an important part of the Energy Department's all-of-the-above strategy to pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future," said Deputy DOE Secretary Daniel Poneman. "The Clemson testing facility represents a critical investment to ensure America leads in this fast-growing global industry, helping to make sure the best, most efficient wind energy technologies are developed and manufactured in the United States."

The release says the facility is located at a former U.S. Navy warehouse with easy access to rail and water transport, making it possible for U.S. and international companies to test their larger turbines there. Engineers can use the facility to simulate 20 years' worth of wear and tear on drivetrains in a few months, it says.

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