Wind farm developer plans manufacturing center in Sparrows Point: CEG

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The Baltimore-based subsidiary of Italian renewable energy company Renexia SpA, US Wind, announced on August 3 that it plans to use 90 acres of waterfront at Tradepoint Atlantic, a 3,300-acre logistics center in Baltimore County. The company plans to assemble turbine components there and set up a company called Sparrows Point Steel. (Photo by US Wind Inc.)

A wind farm developer plans to move steel production back to Sparrows Point on the southeastern edge of Baltimore to build a manufacturing center for the growing wind energy industry.

Once home to a huge Bethlehem Steel mill, Sparrows Point is a deep-water peninsula between Chesapeake Bay and the Patapsco River.

US Wind is committed to kicking off its plans by using the site to build parts for a planned offshore turbine expansion in Ocean City, Maryland.

The Baltimore-based subsidiary of Italian renewable energy company Renexia SpA, US Wind, announced on August 3 that it plans to use 90 acres of waterfront at Tradepoint Atlantic, a 3,300-acre logistics center in Baltimore County. The company plans to assemble turbine components there and set up a company called Sparrows Point Steel.

The factory would make the towers that anchor wind turbines to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the Ocean City projects are to be supplied by US Wind and, in the longer term, the wind energy market in the USA, reported the Baltimore Sun.

The company signed a long-term lease to convert the old shipyard at the old Bethlehem Steel mill site into its new hub, where work would initially support an ambitious expansion of wind turbines in the waters near Ocean City, U.S. Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski.

“It will be one of the best offshore wind turbines in all of North America,” said Grybowski during an on-site announcement. “We want to do that with high-paying union jobs right here in Baltimore County.”

US Wind holding lease rights to approximately 80,000 acres at a distance of 13 miles. east of the seaside resort, has been working on the first phase called “MarWin”, which includes the construction of 22 turbines over approximately 27 km. from the shore, according to the Sun newspaper. US Wind had previously received PSC approval for this phase of its operations.

The company expects MarWin to generate around 270 megawatts of wind energy and electricity for around 80,000 households by 2025.

The second phase of the wind farm with the name “Momentum Wind” would be four times as large as the first phase with 82 turbines by 2028. Together, the two phases will be the largest wind energy project ever proposed in Maryland, supplying the country with 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy.

The entire project would have the capacity to generate 1,500 megawatts of offshore wind power, or enough electricity to power more than 500,000 homes, US Wind noted. The company needs PSC approval before proceeding with expansion.

Grybowski added that Sparrow’s Point Steel, proposed as a manufacturing facility in the Maryland Public Service Commission’s (PSC) expansion proposal, will be housed in up to six new and refurbished buildings. The company needs PSC approval before proceeding with the project.

There, workers bend, roll and weld the steel towers and foundations, so-called monopiles, which are transported on barges to the wind farms under construction. At full capacity, the factory could produce 80 monopiles a year, he said.

US Wind estimates the Sparrows Point Steel factory could employ 500 workers at its most productive time. The existing offshore project is expected to create 1,300 construction jobs, and another 3,500 jobs are estimated for the planned second phase, said Grybowski.

According to Sun, he said the wind energy developer plans to invest $ 77 million at Tradepoint on port upgrades that will allow the company to bring large-scale equipment to build and assemble turbine components. The location has key advantages over other industrial ports on the east coast, he noted, including its sprawling size and one of the largest dry docks on the coast.

“We believe our MarWin and Momentum will be the first two customers for this turbine,” said Grybowski, “but we think we have good prospects of serving the rest of the offshore wind industry.”

Can Maryland Become an Energy Leader?

On the August 3 announcement, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and other state and local authority elected officials promoted the return of steel mills and thousands of jobs to Sparrows Point in a way that would make the state a leader in cleanliness Could make energy.

“Offshore wind offers the state of Maryland a unique opportunity to expand and diversify our economy and energy portfolio,” said Hogan. “The job creation potential and the associated economic benefits for the broader offshore wind development supply chain are an absolute game changer.”

Adrienne A. Jones, Democratic Speaker of the Maryland House of Representatives, described the US Wind plan as one of the state’s “most effective and innovative” renewable energy projects, which would help meet the state’s 50 percent clean energy goal over the next decade to achieve more achievable.

The company’s clean energy plans for the shipyard continue Tradepoint’s seven-year conversion of the steel mill site into a logistics and distribution center that currently employs around 10,000 people for employers such as Amazon, FedEx, McCormick and Under Armor.

Bethlehem Steel, which at its peak in 1959 employed more than 30,000 people at Sparrows Point, provided middle-class wages and benefits to generations of workers in the Baltimore area for decades. The plant closed in 2012 after years of uncertainty and a number of owners.

US Wind said it has signed letters of intent with Baltimore-DC Building & Construction Trades, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the United Steelworkers union pledging to recruit union workers for the construction and steel industries.

Jim Strong, assistant to the director of United Steelworkers, said Sparrows Point was sacred ground to him and other steelworkers. He called the announcement “great news for everyone. It’s a very emotional day for our union”.

“Our members are hardworking Marylanders,” Strong told the Sun. “They have the skills, education and dedication to do a great job in this exciting new industry. We are excited to be part of US Wind’s visionary plans to bring steel back to Sparrows Point.”

The newspaper stated that US Wind will join another wind energy developer at Tradepoint Atlantic. Ørsted US Offshore Wind recently funded $ 13.2 million for upgrades at its Sparrows Point site to enable the transportation of heavy wind turbine components such as blades, foundations, nacelles and towers for this company’s Skipjack wind farm, approximately 20 miles away. off the coast of Ocean City and for future projects.

Grybowski said US Wind’s two offshore projects, which account for about 5 percent of all proposed offshore wind projects nationwide, would contribute to President Joe Biden’s goal of halving net greenhouse gas pollution and increasing total wind power to 30,000 megawatts by 2030 .

The size of US Wind’s wind farms is typical of the offshore facilities on the east coast, he added.

“With the industry’s growth in recent years, there is confidence in the likes of US Wind that this market is ready to take off and we are in a place where we can start investing in manufacturing capabilities in the US,” said he said in remarks about the sun.

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