Port upgrades are complete at Baltimore County’s Tradepoint Atlantic facility, where workers will assemble wind turbines bound for the sea about 20 miles off the coast of Ocean City, officials said Wednesday.
Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind funded the $13.2 million in upgrades at the Sparrows Point site, which will allow for the transportation of heavy wind turbine components, such as blades, foundations, nacelles and towers — both for the Skipjack Wind Farm and future projects.
Now, preparations are underway for the second phase of the project: developing 50 acres of land for the storage and assembly of the turbine components.
“The development of these areas can be a building block for future suppliers to build a Maryland-centric supply chain for offshore wind,” read a news release from Ørsted and Tradepoint.
Small Curtis Bay-based contractor Strum Contracting provided steel and welding services and helped with installing heavy pilings in the port, according to the news release. For the project, the company hired from the Jane Addams Resource Corporation, a workforce development nonprofit in Baltimore City’s Park Heights that trains unemployed and underemployed Marylanders in welding and other skills.
“Offshore wind is poised to create thousands of jobs in Maryland, and we have already increased our physical space and steel fabrication capacity to meet this anticipated demand,” Teaera Strum, chief operating officer of Strum Contracting, said in the news release.
Politicians cheered Wednesday’s announcement.
“This project, specifically, will provide enough clean energy to power 35,000 Maryland homes and support 1,400 jobs in a community still reeling from the closure of Bethlehem Steel years ago,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat who represents the area, said in the release.
“This Baltimore institution is once again positioned to serve as a critical piece in supporting our country’s clean and renewable energy transformation for generations to come,” Gov. Larry Hogan a Republican, said in the release. “Now is the time to invest in the kind of infrastructure that supports the development of new industries — like offshore wind — and the creation of thousands of new jobs.”