Duke Energy donates $5 million to Clemson University for work at Restoration Institute in North Charleston

Duke Energy has donated $5 million to Clemson University to help fund programs at the school’s Restoration Institute in North Charleston.

John Kelly, the university’s vice president for economic development, said $2 million will be used to create an endowment, the proceeds from which will be used to hire an internationally respected scholar to lead a research team on the electrical grid.

The state will match that money with another $2 million.

The other $3 million will be used for electrical research connected to the school’s wind turbine drivetrain testing facility.

Kelly said the Restoration Institute on the former Naval Base is committed to working toward meeting the electrical needs of the future.

He said the school doesn’t yet know who it will hire as an “endowed chair” to lead the research team. Project leaders are working on “defining the expertise that’s available internationally.”

Duke Energy spokesman Tom Williams said Duke is the largest utility in the country and is committed to ensuring the stability of the grid.

Duke Energy’s top engineers will be working with Clemson researchers in the future, he said. Research goals include increasing energy efficiency, making the grid more secure and other innovations.

The donation was announced Thursday at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. Duke and Clemson have committed to working with the initiative to develop new models for generating and distributing electricity.

Kelly said the partnership will promote academic programs and economic development.

Clemson will dedicate its much-anticipated wind turbine drivetrain testing facility Nov. 21.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.

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