World’s Largest Wind Drivetrain Testing Center Opening in North Charleston, SC

Guest Blog | November 21, 2013 | Press Releases

Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, Director of Policy & Communications, 865.235.1448, [email protected]

World’s Largest Wind Drivetrain Testing Center Opening in North Charleston, South Carolina
New Clemson Univ. facility is vital to advancing
offshore wind energy and reducing costs

Charleston, S.C.///PRESS RELEASE/// Clemson University Restoration Institute officially opens and dedicates their 82,000-square-foot Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility and Electrical Grid Simulator today in North Charleston, South Carolina. About 1,000 people are expected to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the world’s largest wind drivetrain testing center as well as the 15 megawatt electric grid research facility.

“The Southeast has a world-class offshore wind resource, and now also has a world-class research center to develop the technology to capture this resource and turn it into clean, affordable energy for our region,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE). “With this facility, the Palmetto State will become the epi-center in our country for research and development of these advanced turbine designs, pulling the economic advantages of leading companies and people to the Lowcountry of South Carolina.”

In November of 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Clemson University a $45 million grant to develop a facility capable of full-scale, highly-accelerated testing of next-generation wind turbine technology. Now complete, this $110 million facility will enable offshore wind turbine manufacturers to test prototype and next-generation turbines quickly and safely before installation around the world.

“Offshore wind energy isn’t a new concept, the first offshore wind farm was built off Denmark in 1991; but, because of regulatory hurdles, offshore wind farms have not yet been built here in the United States,” said Simon Mahan, Renewable Energy Manager at SACE. “Clemson’s efforts are vitally important to help reduce the costs and increase the reliability of offshore wind turbines. “

“The enormous potential for offshore wind development along the coast of the Carolinas, combined with Clemson’s state-of-the-art facility will help advance offshore wind power globally and will serve as a huge magnet for jobs locally,” said Chris Carnevale, Coastal Climate and Energy Coordinator at SACE, based in Charleston, SC.

SACE has been a strong supporter of Clemson University’s efforts ever since this facility was announced exactly four years ago this week and has written extensively on this project, wind energy in South Carolina and the importance of offshore wind in fueling the national clean energy economy. SACE blogs can be accessed here and background information on offshore wind energy in the Southeast can be accessed here.

# # #

Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at