Clemson University will house a large-scale wind-turbine drivetrain testing facility. The school recently broke ground on the $98 million project at the Clemson University Restoration Institute in North Charleston, S.C. The testing facility, which is expected to begin operating in 2012, will be located in a former Navy warehouse. It will be capable of full-scale highly accelerated testing of advanced drivetrain systems for wind turbines in the 5- to 15-megawatt range with a 30% overload capacity.
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 testing facility for next-generation wind-turbine drivetrains at the institute’s research campus. The award 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.