Winds of change swirling at old base

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Since 2010, an old Navy warehouse has been transforming into the future site of the Clemson Restoration Institute's wind-turbine testing facility.

Vice President John Kelly said this summer they expect to test the drive trains of offshore wind turbines at the facility, which can produce up to 7.5 megawatts of power.

"This country is in the process of exploring offshore winds, certainly the east coast is a very desirable location for off shore wind farms," he said. "The kinds of turbines we're testing will be the ones that go into offshore installations."

A second larger unit, capable of generating up to 15 megawatts will also be installed.

"This will be a hub for quality control testing for anything up to 15 mega watts for the world," business development director, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch said. "This is a test facility that is world class state-of-the-art."

This is the first{}testing facility for{}renewable wind power, which is putting the Palmetto State and Charleston on the worldwide map.

"There is no offshore wind opportunity yet in the United States," Busch said. "This uniquely positions South Carolina and it is ours to do with what we want."

Bosch said wind turbine manufacturing has the potential to create 20,000 jobs in South Carolina.

Officials broke ground on the testing center back in the fall of 2010.

Eventually it will expand into a 26 acre campus.