The U.S. Maritime Administration will provide $47 million to Baltimore County, Md., and Sparrows Point Steel LLC for waterfront port improvements to remake a 100-acre site into a manufacturing center for offshore wind turbine foundations and towers.
The hope is to remake the location into a major offshore wind logistics and manufacturing hub for the Mid-Atlantic region.
The Sparrows Point grant is the fourth-largest award given this year through Marad’s competitive Port Infrastructure Development Program. Sparrows Point Steel is wholly owned by wind power developer US Wind Inc., whose CEO Jeff Grybowski, who developed the Block Island Wind Farm, a 30-megawatt pilot project of five turbines built off Rhode island in 2016 and now owned by Ørsted.
Like Northeast states and neighboring Virginia, Maryland’s state government and energy planners are heavily invested in offshore wind as a future power source.
“The production of clean and sustainable energy in Baltimore County is a priority for my administration, and we’re thrilled to see Sparrows Point Steel recognized as a major driver for offshore wind energy and economic opportunity,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said in a joint statement with Sparrows Point Steel. “Thanks to our federal and state partners, this grant will enable continued investment in our local workforce while taking significant action to make our nation’s supply chain more sustainable and resilient.”
The company plans to renovate about 100 acres of waterfront at the Tradepoint Atlantic near Baltimore, once a major production center for Bethlehem Steel.
Once the largest steel production facility in the world, Sparrows Point “has a special historical relevance to the United Steelworkers, who will support manufacturing there,” according to the statement from Baltimore County officials.
The $47 million in federal funding will pay for upgrades so that monopile foundations and towers to be built by Sparrows Point Steel can be staged on the site and transported from there to offshore wind project sites.
“The work will also strengthen the site against regional climate change effects, improve resiliency to storms, and facilitate electrification of port operations where possible,” according to Baltimore County officials. “Along with helping to establish a domestic supply chain that employs union workers and minority owned businesses, the site will also serve as a marshalling port to stage, load and ship heavy materials for other offshore wind project developers.”
“Our plans for Sparrows Point Steel will put Marylanders to work, especially union workers and minority owned businesses,” said Sparrows Point Steel CEO Jeff Grybowski. “We’re grateful for the strong partnership we have with Baltimore County, Governor Moore, and the Biden administration. Together we aim to make Maryland a hub of offshore wind logistics and manufacturing in the U.S.”