NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A new wind-energy research center at South Carolina's Clemson University is a "critical investment" in America's energy future, a U.S. official said.
Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman was among officials who attended the dedication of the Clemson facility, where researchers will test turbines designed for offshore wind farms.
"The Clemson testing facility represents a critical investment to ensure America leads in this fast-growing global industry, helping to make sure the best, most efficient wind-energy technologies are developed and manufactured in the United States," Poneman said.
Clemson engineers will have the equipment needed to simulate 20 years of wear on wind turbines in a few months.
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who was also at dedication, said wind energy in 2012 represented more than 40 percent of new electricity production in the United States "but there is still tremendous amount of untapped potential for this technology."
The Clemson facility is supported by $47 million in federal funding.
In July, the federal government auctioned off 164,750 acres offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts for wind-energy development. Auction winner Deepwater Wind said it aims to produce as much as 1,000 megawatts of energy from a wind farm set for construction in 2017.
There are no commercial offshore wind farms in the United States.