A huge wind turbine test rig — the most powerful in the world — is the centerpiece of the Clemson Energy Innovation Center in North Charleston.
The school’s associate vice president for Charleston Programs Randy Collins told South Carolina Radio Network the site can test what the industry needs. “It’s a facility for testing their future generation, a 9.5-megawatt turbine that would be designed for offshore use,” he said.
There are two wind turbine test beds: a 7.5-MW test stand designed to handle gearboxes and nacelles for wind turbines that produce up to 7.5 MW. Equal parts red, yellow and blue, the two-story structure is never idle. It takes a team of more than 10 researchers and scientists and almost an entire day just to move a nacelle into place and connect it to the dynamometer so that testing can begin.
Collins said the $98 million North Charleston site may be some distance from the university’s main campus, but it’s a strategic location. “That location was really important because we have access at that property to all three ways, road, rail and from the water,” he said.
He said what occurs at the facility is also integrated into the growing academic programs located there.