The United Steelworkers Union (USW) has joined with US Wind to renovate part of the prior steel mill in Sparrows Point, Maryland into a production site for the expanding offshore wind energy sector.
Steel production will resume in Baltimore County after a long-term lease agreement was authorized Tuesday between US Wind and the owner of the previous Bethlehem Steel, Tradepoint Atlantic. The total estimated steel volumes are unknown, though Timothy Mack, Foundation and Localization Manager at US Wind, noted that the company would consume around 430,000nt of steel plate each year.
US Wind is constructing a $77mn major offshore wind farm off the Ocean City coast referred to as the MarWin project. Wind turbines and platforms for this project will be built at Sparrows Point, which means the site may become the largest offshore wind staging port in the US. Currently, the materials for these 22 wind turbines are produced in Europe.
The steel mill is slated to be complete and reach full capacity within four years, providing 500 permanent jobs and producing over $1bn of labor income over 20 years. In operating the turbines, clean energy will be supplied to 400,000 homes.
This venture represents the return of steel jobs in Baltimore County as the Bethlehem Steel plant will restart steel production following its historic shut down in 2012. All of US Wind’s projects will depend on the planned steel production facility.
Expansion plans for future developments, including the new Momentum Wind project, will also be made at Sparrows Point, projected to create 1,200 megawatts of added energy, with phase 1 set to operate by 2026.
The wind sector has expanded recently on state legislature as Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland, for example, approved strict clean energy standards to move away from fossil fuel-reliant electricity methods.
Maryland aims for 50pc of its electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. The endeavor will boost Maryland’s gross domestic product by almost $7bn over 20 years.