Work underway on $98 million wind turbine test facility in South Carolina

Clemson University is continuing construction work on $98 million wind turbine drivetrain testing facility in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The project involves completely redeveloping an 82,000 square feet warehouse on the former Navy base into a wind turbine drivetrain testing facility. Engineered and designed by US-based AEC Engineering, the project involves construction of two rigs that include a test rig, which is the bigger of the two.

The scope of work involves pouring of 1,900 cubic yards of concrete into a pit 50 feet wide, 100 feet long and 15 feet deep, all resting on 115, 10-foot-deep piles. The building’s foundation is almost seven stories deep. The pit already has approximately 450 tons of reinforcing steel. The construction of the facility is being undertaken by Choate Construction.

The project marked a construction milestone with the installation of load application unit support, which is a three-storey tall gear-like ring and capable of simulating operating conditions on wind turbines that can produce 15MW of power.

The project is slated for completion in late 2013 and upon completion the facility will have the capability for full-scale highly accelerated testing of advanced drivetrain systems for wind turbines in the 5MW to 15MW range. The facility will also have 50 hertz and 60 hertz testing capability.

The new wind turbine tears facility will be operated by Clemson University alongside its partners. The project received a $45 million grant from the US Department of Energy, which was combined with $53 million of matching funds.