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Clemson University’s SCE&G Energy Innovation Center

Best Power/Industrial Project on the Globe, ENR

Editor’s Choice, Best of the Best in the Nation, Engineering News Record (ENR)

Best Energy / Industrial Project in the Nation, ENR

Project of the Year, Associated Builders and Contractors of the Carolinas

Eagle Award for Excellence in Construction, Associated Builders and Contractors of the Carolinas

Best Project for Energy/Industrial, ENR Southeast

CMAA Project Achievement Awards

Carolinas AGC Pinnacle Award – Building Category

ACEC SC Engineering Excellence Award Winner

Building Team Awards, Gold, BD + C

With a core purpose of speeding innovation to market in the field of wind energy, award-winning Clemson University’s SCE&G Energy Innovation Center is the first construction within the 27 acre Energy Systems Campus of the Clemson University Restoration Institute. Housing the world’s most sophisticated and most powerful wind turbine drivetrain testing equipment, the LEED Gold certified facility is the result of the largest cost share grant ever awarded by the Department of Energy ($45 million) and over $60 million in public and private funding.

Located within a decommissioned U.S. Navy warehouse atop a rehabilitated brownfield site,  the 82,264-SF facility is designed by AEC and will support the critical testing of next generation off-shore wind turbines by allowing businesses to simulate in mere months over 20 years of rigors faced by the turbine systems at sea. The facility is also home to the Duke Energy eGRID, a 15-megawatt hardware-in-the-loop grid simulator capable of testing and validating the impact of wind energy on the nation’s aging electrical grid without the real-world risks to the existing grid.

The scope of work for this project included a complete renovation and equipment integration of the building, test equipment and site infrastructure. The facility’s two independent test rigs are equipped with motor and gearbox drive systems with blade force simulation capabilities. At 15MW, Rig #1 weighs as much as a Boeing 787 and has the capability to apply dynamic loads to the main shaft of the specimen drivetrain, replicating forces and moments along three orthogonal axes, thereby simulating actual blade forces experienced in the field. A 125-ton crane installed in the test bay supports operations of this rig.  At 7.5MW, Rig #2 has the capability to apply static offaxis loads to the main shaft of the specimen drivetrain, replicating forces and moments without dynamic components. A 100-ton capacity crane system supports Rig #2 equipment movement.

The design of the facility features many enhancements and construction practices which save energy, reduce impact to the environment, and enhance comfort for its 40+ researchers, operators, inventors, students, and faculty.  The SCE&G LEED Case Study features more information on its sustainable features.