Clarkson University Celebrates Grand Opening of Wind Turbine Blade Test Facility Funded by CECET and NYSERDA

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First-of-its-Kind Center in Northeast Will Promote Wind Industry and Investment in Clean Energy Technology.

The Center for Evaluation of Clean Energy Technology (CECET) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) joined Clarkson University in announcing the grand opening of a new Blade Test Facility that will test the strength and rigidity of small- and medium-scale wind turbine blades.

Left to right: Clarkson Associate Professor Pier Marzocca (facility co-director), National Renewable Energy Laboratory Engineer Nathan Post, NYSERDA Program Manager Jeff Peterson, NYSERDA Program Manager Jacques Roeth, NYSERDA President and CEO Francis J. Murray Jr., Clarkson President Tony Collins, CECET Executive Director Rick Lewandowski, Intertek Senior Staff Engineer Tom Buchal and Clarkson Associate Professor Kerop Janoyan (facility co-director).The CECET Blade Test Facility serves manufacturers of small and medium-size turbines, which range from backyard-sized residential turbines to turbines capable of providing significant power for a municipal facility, large farm or manufacturing complex.

Large and frequent fluctuations in wind intensity and directions can cause structural problems for wind turbine blades. Blade testing is necessary to certify wind turbines to international standards for strength and safety, and can be used by manufacturers to market the benefits of their products, as well as improve product standards and quality.

There is no other testing site for this scale of blade in the Eastern United States, and few others across the nation.

“Governor Cuomo has made it a priority for the state to increase its renewable energy generation, and wind is a valuable component in New York’s renewable energy portfolio. By investing in this vital laboratory, NYSERDA is helping to bolster the wind industry in general, and in particular wind power investment in New York State,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA. “This facility marks another important step in expanding the state’s clean energy economy and will bring economic activity to the North Country.”

“We are pleased that Governor Cuomo and NYSERDA have shown their confidence in Clarkson as a partner in research and evaluation to support and grow New York-based wind market activities,” said Tony Collins, President, Clarkson University. “Our goal is to serve as the go-to research facility for manufacturers of small- to mid-size wind turbines. This work provides another avenue to build the knowledge base in sustainable technologies for our communities. Renewable energy is vital to our State’s economic prosperity, our national security and the stewardship of our natural environment.”

“This Blade Test Facility will allow turbine blade manufacturers to advertise the strength and rigidity of their products,” said Rick Lewandowski, CECET’s Executive Director. “CECET’s parent company, Intertek of Cortland, has tremendous interaction with renewable technology companies all around the world and sees firsthand the importance of this type of service. We are very proud to be in business with Clarkson, a leader in this field, and thankful to NYSERDA for its support.”

NYSERDA has contributed $877,000 to CECET toward the creation of this $1.2 million facility. In all, NYSERDA has contributed about $4 million to CECET, which will also operate a solar panel testing facility in Cortland, now under construction and expected to be operational by this fall.

CECET is owned by Intertek, a global corporation that specializes in testing, inspecting, certifying and other technical solutions.

NYSERDA has also partnered with Clarkson on several other clean energy projects:

• Demonstrating the viability of data centers powered by renewable energy, in a joint project with Advanced Micro Devices, HP, GE, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and other entities. The project makes use of distributed green data centers located near renewable resources such as wind farms.

• A smart housing study, which involves a university-based psychology group working with students to find ways to encourage dorm room residents to take steps to reduce power consumption such as turning down heat or lights when not present.

• A wood boiler at Clarkson’s Walker Center, which was also used to demonstrate the benefits of imported high-efficiency wood pellet boilers. Clarkson has also evaluated the first made-in-New-York high-efficiency boiler, now at the Tupper Lake Wild Center, and other wood boilers in upstate New York. Clarkson is currently adding thermal storage to its existing boiler to achieve higher energy efficiency.

NYSERDA currently provides up to 50 percent funding for small and medium “behind-the-meter” wind turbines for residences, farms, businesses, municipalities and other power users. There are currently more than 150 turbines in New York State funded through this program. NYSERDA has provided nearly $6 million for these projects, leveraging an additional $10 million in private investment in non-grid wind power.