Machinery Installation Marks Milestone at Clemson University Wind Turbine Testing Facility

February 28, 2013

North Charleston, SC (March 1, 2013) – Clemson University’s $98 million wind turbine drivetrain testing facility marked a major milestone this week as the enormous machinery that will test the world’s largest wind turbines began to take shape.

The massive “load application unit support” was installed by construction workers at the former Navy base in North Charleston. The scale of the equipment is striking; the gear-like ring is three stories tall and capable of simulating operating conditions on wind turbines that can produce 15 megawatts of power. To compare, this is about five times what large land-based wind turbines produce.

This installation follows the concrete pour for this test rig, the larger of the two rigs in the facility. Choate Construction poured 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, weighing roughly as much as 250 mid-size cars.

The project involves completely redeveloping an 82,000-square-foot warehouse on the former Navy base. Engineering design was performed by AEC Engineering of Minneapolis.

In November 2009, Clemson and its partners were awarded a $45 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, which was combined with $53 million of matching funds, to build and operate the large-scale testing facility for next-generation wind turbine drivetrains.

When complete later this year, the facility will have the capability for full-scale highly accelerated testing of advanced drivetrain systems for wind turbines in the 5- to 15-megawatt range.

It also will have 50 hertz and 60 hertz testing capability, which means it can accommodate test specimens destined for anywhere in the world.


As one of the largest general contractors in the southeast, Choate Construction Company considers its reputation to be its number one asset with its future success founded upon the strength of its customer relationships. Choate Construction excels in both base and interior construction with office locations in Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Savannah. Choate strives to lead the industry in financially viable, functional solutions and continually invests in the tools to do so, promoting advances in Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, LEED® Rating system and Risk Mitigation. Go to for more information.


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