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      SC wind turbine test facility nears completion

      N ORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A nearly $100 million investment in the nation's energy future is nearing completion on the South Carolina coast.

      The wind turbine testing facility at Clemson's Restoration Institute in North Charleston will be up and running by year's end. The facility will be the largest of its kind in the world, able to test a new generation of giant turbines.

      The facility is being finished as the government prepares to lease sections of ocean off the mid-Atlantic coast for wind farms.

      The Restoration Institute's executive director, John Kelly, says turbine testing is key to the industry. Utilities want to be sure there are no design problems with the wind turbines before they are deployed in wind farms. Kelly says it's much more difficult to repair a turbine after it has been installed miles offshore.