U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Wind Program

Drivetrain Testing in South Carolina

July 19, 2012

In Charleston, South Carolina, the Clemson University Drivetrain Test Facility is aimed at boosting American manufacturing innovation and competiveness in wind turbine drivetrains.

Located at a converted Navy warehouse, this center will test the machinery that converts wind energy to electricity, allowing engineers to simulate 20 years worth of wear and tear on large drivetrains in only a few months.

Over the next year, the facility expects to open two testing bays -- one for a 7.5 MW drivetrains and another for 15 MW ones. Once completed, this facility will be the only one of its kind in the world. In fact, some of the wind gust exposure tests will not be replicable anywhere else in the world.

The testing facility investments we’ve made across the country, from Massachusetts to Texas to South Carolina, are creating jobs and driving American manufacturing growth. This is also why President Obama has called on Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides an important tax credit to utility-scale wind producers in the United States and has helped drive this industry’s expansion. At a time when we’re testing blades as big as airplanes and drivetrains the size of train locomotives, these are vital steps to supporting the continued growth of our nation’s clean energy economy.