Wind turbine ‘Innovation Center’ launches in South Carolina

New facility boasts world's largest wind turbine drivetrain testing capabilities.

Duke Energy, together with SCE&G, joined Clemson University on November 21 to dedicate what is claimed to be the world’s most-advanced energy systems testing and research center. The SCE&G Energy Innovation Center, located at the Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI) campus, is capable of full-scale, highly accelerated mechanical and electrical testing of advanced drivetrain systems for wind turbines.

Testing and research at the Innovation Center will encompass many facets of the electrical market to help transform the electrical infrastructure into a more distributed, resilient and efficient system. Focus areas include: energy storage; solar energy; wind energy; traditional energy sources, such as natural gas and diesel systems; smart-grid and micro-grid technologies; fuel cells; aerospace systems; electric vehicle charging systems; and grid security, among others.
“The Clemson testing facility represents a critical investment to ensure America leads in this fast-growing global industry,” said Daniel Poneman, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy, who was in attendance at the dedication ceremony. “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.”
Duke Energy named the 15MW hardware-in-the-loop grid simulator the Duke Energy eGRID — Electrical Grid Research Innovation and Development — center. The eGRID, housed in the SCE&G Energy Innovation Center, supports education, research and economic development to speed new electrical technologies to market.
“Clemson University is renowned for groundbreaking research, supercomputing, engineering and workforce development, but the Innovation Center and eGRID take the university to another level,” said James F. Barker, Clemson University president. “The fact two such prestigious companies have put their names on this building undoubtedly will help us attract additional industry partners.”
Duke Energy is contributing $5 million to help fund laboratory infrastructure and educational program development and fund a Smart Grid Technology Endowed Chair. Furthermore, Duke Energy employees will provide the center with ongoing technical expertise and resources. SCE&G supported the center with a $3.5 million gift. Duke Energy’s endowment was matched by the SmartState Program to establish two distinguished professorships.

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Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Wind power