EERE Success Story: DOE-Funded Clemson Dynamometer to Test Next-Generation Wind Drivetrain

Jan. 25, 2018

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded the establishment of state-of-the-art test facilities to test the very large wind components that would be needed for the next generation of wind turbines, especially for those to be used in offshore applications. One of these facilities—Clemson University’s SCE&G Energy Innovation Center in Charleston, South Carolina—opened in 2014 with 7.5-megawatt (MW) and 15-MW dynamometer test stands to test large wind turbine drivetrains. While Clemson has been partnering with General Electric for several years to test their turbine’s drivetrains on the 7.5-MW test stand, wind turbine manufacturer MHI Vestas recently announced that it will be the first to use the 15-MW test stand for their new 9.5-MW offshore wind turbine, which has a rotor diameter of 164 meters (more than 500 feet) and will be the most powerful wind turbine in the world. The new partnership between Clemson University and MHI Vestas to test the drivetrain marks the achievement of DOE’s goal to establish U.S. testing capabilities for next-generation land-based and offshore wind turbines in the United States.