At the core of the partnership are workforce development initiatives and academic programs that will help develop technology to better manage global electric grid systems.
Together, Duke Energy and Clemson will focus on education and research to develop innovative ways to efficiently and sustainably distribute energy. The partnership will create unique learning opportunities for students and industry researchers, and promote economic growth in South Carolina that revolves around energy systems innovation.
Duke Energy is contributing $5 million to help fund laboratory infrastructure and educational program development and fund a Smart Grid Technology Endowed Chair. Duke Energy employees also will provide the center with ongoing technical expertise and resources.
Clemson University will own and operate the center at the Restoration Institute in North Charleston, S.C. , where engineers are constructing the world's most advanced wind turbine drivetrain testing facility. Clemson's partnership with Duke Energy will expand the testing and research capabilities of this facility.
John Kelly, Clemson University vice president for economic development, said the programmatic component of this initiative is at the core of the partnership.
"This is the perfect example of a U.S corporation and a top public university working together to address a major 21st century issue: the future of the energy distribution system," said Kelly.
"The Duke Energy team looks forward to working side-by-side with Clemson students and researchers from across the world when the facility opens in November," said Clark Gillespy, president of Duke Energy – South Carolina. "Just as this country's original electricity infrastructure was the greatest achievement of the 20th century, the goal of this partnership is to spearhead advances in the generation and distribution of power in the 21st century," Gillespy said.
- Nov. 20, 2013:Technical workshop: "Challenges, Value and Future Testing and Validation for Energy Systems," for 50 to 60 technical professionals from OEM's, suppliers, national labs, universities, utilities, and other industries that are involved with the project.
- Nov. 21, 2013:Dedication of drivetrain testing facility and energy systems center (more than 70 organizations invited and up to 1,000 attendees expected).
- Dec. 31, 2014:Develop education program plan and begin hiring faculty.
- Dec. 31, 2015:Begin graduate programs in the Fall 2015; target of 50 graduate students engaged.
- Dec. 31, 2016:100 graduate students engaged.
- Dec. 31, 2017:Complete hiring of faculty and develop program for four post-doc positions at site with existing projects, and at least 150 graduate students engaged.