SPARROWS POINT, Md. (WJZ) — Steel production is one step closer to returning to Sparrows Point in Baltimore County.
A long-term lease agreement between US Wind and Tradepoint Atlantic, which owns the former Bethlehem Steel property, was signed Tuesday.
US Wind is in the process of building Maryland's first major offshore wind farm off the coast of Ocean City, known as the MarWin project. Currently, materials for the 22 wind turbines are made in Europe.
Pending approvals and permitting, turbines for future projects, including US Wind's Momentum Wind project off the Maryland coast, will be made at Sparrows Point, representing the return of steel jobs on the southeast Baltimore County site.
"It's very emotional," said Jim Strong, a representative from United Steelworkers. "To bring the steelworkers back to Sparrows Point is huge. We've always viewed this area as sacred ground."
Once home to the world's largest steel plant, the last steel mill closed its doors at Sparrows Point in 2012.
Building the new steel fabrication facility will create 3,500 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs at Sparrows Point.
"Because of the successes we've achieved in the development of MarWin, US Wind is ready to offer Maryland its most ambitious clean energy project to date and, with it, the state's first permanent offshore wind steel fabrication facility," US Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski said. "Developing Momentum Wind and Sparrows Point Steel at full capacity will give Maryland the opportunity to bring steel back to Baltimore and become the epicenter of offshore wind manufacturing."
MarWin's sister project, Momentum Wind, will develop an additional 1,200 megawatts of energy, with the first phase coming online in 2026.
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