MHI Vestas Offshore Wind has signed an agreement with Clemson University in South Carolina to test the world’s most powerful wind turbine, a 9.5 megawatt wind turbine, helping to elevate the United States as one of the world’s leading testing and research locations for offshore wind.
Announced earlier this week, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind and Clemson University announced that the latter would conduct all the testing and verification of the former’s V164-9.5 megawatt (MW) wind turbine’s gearbox and main bearings at the University’s state-of-the-art 15 MW test bench. Further, the $35 million investment made by MHI Vestas into Clemson will direct $23 million over five years to Clemson and additionally stimulate a dozen high-tech jobs.
More importantly, it is also highly likely that the V164-9.5 MW wind turbine will be the model implemented through the first round of major offshore wind projects in the United States.
“We are delighted to have found such world-class facilities to carry out vital testing of the world’s most powerful wind turbine,” said Jakob Søbye, senior director of technology at MHI Vestas. “The testing and verification of the gearbox and bearings will allow us to optimize the performance and reliability of the wind turbine.”
Clemson University’s test bench is the largest advanced wind energy testing facility and one of the world’s most-advanced, which was opened back in November of 2013. Located at a former Navy warehouse with easy access to rail and water transport, the Clemson test bench is built to test both onshore and offshore wind turbine machinery in a way that simulates 20-years worth of wear and tear. Clemson University’s development of the test bench was supported by a $47 million Energy Department investment as well as about $60 million in outside funding.
“MHI Vestas’ decision to partner with Clemson to test its most powerful wind turbine is a testament to the expertise of our faculty and staff working at the test facility,” said Robert Jones, Clemson executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “The work that will be done as result of this partnership also will further Clemson’s efforts to establish the university as a leader in technologies related to the production of alternative energy sources, and hopefully will lead to further research and economic engagement opportunities for Clemson.”