The Savannah River National Laboratory – or SRNL – is now a part of Clemson University's new Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility and Electrical Grid Laboratory. This public-private collaboration in electrical energy research, education and testing will be capable of full-scale, highly accelerated testing of next-generation wind turbine technology.


The Electrical Grid Lab's 15MW simulator will allow manufacturers to test both the mechanical and electrical characteristics of their machines in a controlled and calibrated environment. The grid simulator will be the highest power experimental utility-scale facility in the world, according to SRNL, combining testing of energy sources with advanced power instruments and systems.


In 2009, the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy awarded a $45 million grant to Clemson to design, build and operate a facility capable of full-scale, highly accelerated testing of next-generation wind turbine drivetrain technology. The proposal was taken one step further by creating the Electrical Grid Laboratory Simulator that would not only serve wind power, but the entire electrical industry.


SRNL researcher and Advisory Engineer Joe Cordaro was part of the original Clemson-led team that developed the proposal for the Drive Train Test Facility and was integral to the effort that subsequently added the 15MW Electrical Grid Lab.


“The Drive Train Test Facility will allow companies to perfect designs of very large high powered wind turbines,” said Cordaro. “The 15MW Electrical Grid Lab supports all types of energy and is the type of facility that is essential as the U.S. modernizes the nation's electrical grid.”


SRNL reports the Clemson Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility and grid simulator positions South Carolina as a world leader in the development and integration of new energy systems and will be an invaluable tool in developing cyber security approaches for ensuring the sanctity of power systems.


The Savannah River National Laboratory is a multi-program applied research and development laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy.