Clemson University Receives $45M for Wind Turbine Testing

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu Monday announced the selection of Clemson University to receive up to $45 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for a wind energy test facility that will work to enhance the performance, durability, and reliability of utility-scale wind turbines.

The Large Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing facility is meant to enable the
US, which leads the world in wind energy capacity, to expand
development and testing of large-scale wind turbine drive-train systems

Wind turbine sizes have increased with each new
generation of turbines, and have outgrown the capacity of existing U.S.
drivetrain testing facilities. The new testing capability will
ultimately improve U.S. competitiveness in wind energy technology, will
lower energy costs for consumers, and will maintain rapid growth in the
deployment of wind energy systems, DOE said.

"Wind power holds tremendous potential to help create new jobs and reduce carbon pollution," said Secretary Chu. "We are at the beginning of a new Industrial Revolution when it comes to clean energy and projects like these will help us get there faster."

The new facility will be located at the Charleston Naval Complex, a former Navy base in North Charleston, South Carolina, and will be a part of the Clemson University Restoration Institute campus. The test facility will operate as a non-profit organization with a business model designed for sustainability while providing ongoing state-of-the-art testing to wind turbine manufacturers.

The Large Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing facility will feature power analysis equipment capable of performing highly accelerated life testing of land-based and offshore wind turbine drive systems rated at 5-15 megawatts (MW). These dynamometer tests of drivetrains are required to demonstrate compliance with wind turbine design standards, reduce wind turbine costs, secure product financing, and reduce the technical and financial risk of deploying mass-produced wind turbine models.

Last month, Siemens Energy, Inc. (NYSE: SI) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) formally commissioned a new 2.3-megawatt (MW) Siemens wind turbine at NREL’s National Wind Technology Center. The turbine is the centerpiece of a multi-year project to study the performance and aerodynamics of a new class of large, land-based machines–in what will be the biggest government-industry research partnership for wind power generation ever undertaken in the U.S.

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