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Upgrading and transforming the nation’s aging electric power grid: Nick Rigas is moving new-energy technologies forward faster than ever before.

Blackouts remind us how much we rely on power in our daily lives. With a flick of the switch, we have come to expect lights will come on. There will be heat to keep us warm. There will be electricity to charge our devices.

Clemson has opened the SCE&G Energy Innovation Center in North Charleston. This $110 million lab is focused on upgrading and transforming the nation’s aging, electric power grid and accelerating development of new technology for the wind market.

Nick Rigas, Ph.D., executive director for the Clemson University Restoration Institute in Charleston, serves as lead scientist for the center. His facility houses the world’s largest and most-advanced wind-turbine drivetrain testing facility, as well as the eGRID, a Clemson-designed and developed technology on the forefront of much-needed upgrades to the nation’s electrical grid.

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