NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Moving slowly on a floating crane and a barge, two key parts for what will be the world's largest wind turbine test unit arrived in North Charleston on Thursday.
A four-story tall gearbox and a giant steel connecting ring in a mammoth box were brought down the Cooper Rover to Clemson University's Wind Turbine Drive Train Testing Facility.
The $100 million facility will be dedicated in November and the first tests of prototype turbine drive trains are expected in the summer of 2014, said Peter Hull, a Clemson spokesman.
There are only two other such testing facilities, one in Spain and one in Colorado. But the Clemson site will test far larger units.
The gearbox and connecting ring will be part of a 400-ton unit capable of testing drive trains for wind turbines that can produce 15 megawatts - enough energy to power 6,000 homes. A 15-megawatt turbine would likely have blades reaching 100 yards above the ocean surface.
Earlier, a 150-ton unit, capable of testing smaller turbines that can produce 7.5 megawatts of power, arrived at the Clemson facility. Using the larger units offshore would mean the same power could be generated with fewer units needing maintenance and repair.
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