Clarkson University marks opening of turbine blade test facility; first of its kind in Northeast U.S.
Friday, August 9, 2013 - 12:11 pm

From left are facility co-director Clarkson Associate Professor Pier Marzocca, 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.

POTSDAM -- Clarkson University Thursday celebrated the opening of its Wind Turbine Blade Test Facility, a first-of-its-kind facility in the Northeast U.S., and an investment in clean energy technology.

Funded by the Intertek Group’s Center for Evaluation of Clean Energy Technology (CECET) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the facility will test the strength and rigidity of small- and medium-scale wind turbine blades.

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

It will serve manufacturers of turbines ranging in size from backyard residential turbines to those 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 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.

"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 Clarkson University President Tony Collins. "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.”

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.