The utilization of a ground-based testing facility for full-size wind turbine drivetrains is growing. Several test benches have been developed to apply torque and non-torque loads. These mechanical loads can be the loads used to design the drivetrain components or loads obtained from field measurements. Irrespective of the reason for testing a drivetrain, the selected test bench should have the capability to impose the loads of interest. The design of these test benches and their capabilities vary, and the loads of interest vary between drivetrain designs. A systematic method to evaluate the capability of a test bench to impose the loads of interest has been developed. This method can be applied to any test bench and drivetrain design. Part I of this paper presents the methodology and recommendations for presenting and interpreting the results. The demonstration of the method is the focus of part II. Overall, this two-part paper aims to establish guidelines for consideration by the IEA task force 35 for ground based testing for wind turbines and their components.

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