Johanna Alonso//February 10, 2022
//February 10, 2022
Sparrows Point Steel, an offshore wind deployment hub being constructed by US Wind at the former site of Bethlehem Steel, is expected to begin construction in 2024 and to begin producing monopiles for wind turbines in 2025.
US Wind announced the timeline, along with other updates regarding the progression of the project, which was announced last year, during a panel discussion hosted by the Greater Baltimore Committee.
Throughout 2022 and 2023, US Wind will complete pre-construction work on the site, including performing a site survey, performing building analyses and designing the changes that will be made to the existing buildings on the premises, according to Timothy Mack, foundation package and localization manager for US Wind.
The actual construction process will involve both refurbishing existing buildings on the Bethlehem Steel site, as well as constructing new ones. A building that was once used to assemble the hulls of ships is slated to become a welding facility, for example. Another will become the paint booth where the insides and outsides of the monopiles receive a coating that prevents them from being damaged under the water.
Throughout the construction process, the company aims to use local vendors. Trades that will be needed for the project include concrete work for the floors, structural steel upgrades to existing buildings, masonry on existing buildings, installation of electrical and utilities, installation of production equipment and more.
Maynard Smith, US Wind’s Maryland business engagement manager, has presented the project to hundreds of small and local businesses across the state.
“We have crisscrossed the state, talking to vendors about this project,” Smith said. “As a Marylander myself, I’m looking forward to making sure our Maryland companies have the opportunity to participate in this project.”
The company now has over 900 vendors in its database.
US Wind has already signed agreements with three local unions for the construction and later operations of Sparrows Point Steel and the company’s two planned offshore windfarms, MarWin and Monument Wind, which will be 15 miles off the coast of Maryland: Baltimore-D.C. Building Trades, a local affiliate of North America’s Building Trades Unions; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and United Steelworkers.
US Wind’s partnership with United Steelworkers was previously announced when the firm first unveiled the Sparrows Point Steel project last August.
At full capacity, Sparrows Point Steel is expected to produce approximately 100 monopiles — the undersea base of an offshore wind turbine that secures the turbine into the seabed — each year. The facility will also serve as a “marshaling hub,” Mack said, where other pieces of the wind turbine such as towers and blades will be collected before being moved onto barges and transported to the installation site.
“Our intention is to service our own projects,” he said. “But this is also going to, long term, service the entire East Coast market.”
Sparrows Point Steel plans to eventually employ approximately 500 workers in a number of jobs involved in manufacturing monopiles, Mack said, from welders to crane operators, as well as in logistics roles.
To recruit employees, US Wind is working to set up feeder programs with local universities, to be announced in the near future.
“We are excited about this project and building this with the help of Marylanders,” Mack said.l