The Clemson University Restoration Institute has appointed Nick Rigas director and senior scientist of its wind turbine drivetrain testing facility. In this position, he will have overall responsibility for design, construction and operation of the facility, which will test wind turbine drivetrains in the 5 MW to 20 MW range, with 30% overload capacity.
In November 2009, the Department of Energy (DOE) selected the Restoration Institute and its partners to build the testing facility. The DOE awarded the institute a $45 million grant that was matched with $53 million from public and private partners.
‘We are at the beginning of a journey that will end with one of the world's most important sites for wind energy research and development based in South Carolina,’ says Rigas.
Rigas also is director of the Restoration Institute's renewable energy focus area, where he works to promote the development of South Carolina's indigenous clean energy resources for economic development, energy security, improving the environment and increasing the quality of life for the state's citizens.
Prior to joining Clemson, Rigas was operations and technology director for FMC Corp.'s lithium division and vice president of project development for EcoEnergy LLC, where he was responsible for the development of more than 3,000 MW of wind power projects throughout the Midwest and Arizona.
Planning and construction of the facility is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of the year, with a targeted operational date in the third quarter of 2012.