Baltimore County News
Sparrows Point could become the East Coast hub for renewable wind energy. Baltimore County has applied for a federal grant to support infrastructure upgrades at the former Sparrows Point shipyard to accommodate assembly, fabrication and shipping for the offshore wind industry.
“It’s critical that we support sources of clean, renewable energy – for our health, to protect our fragile environment and increase energy independence. From an economic standpoint, Baltimore County can lead the way as the center for a new clean energy industry that builds, assembles and distributes offshore wind products,” said Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz. “We’re talking new jobs, new investment and leadership in a new American industry.”
Construction and permanent jobs
If the $26 million federal grant is approved, the WIND START project could bring as many as 1,200 construction jobs and over 900 permanent jobs to the Sparrows Point peninsula.
The project could jumpstart Baltimore County as the Atlantic hub for assembling and shipping the blades, towers, generators and cables necessary for offshore windmills.
The grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation makes the case for the WIND START intermodal transportation project on 15-acres of the Sparrows Point peninsula. Sparrows Point Shipyard LLC and their partner US Wind would upgrade piers and bulkheads, staging areas and ship-to-road access to support offshore wind development.
Clean energy in the Sparrows Point Partnership vision
“We’re competing for new business and jobs wherever we can. Clean energy has been part of our vision for Sparrows Point since 2013, when the County’s Sparrows Point Partnership developed a blueprint for maximizing the potential for this unique peninsula. No single East Coast location has the same level of waterfront, large storage areas and transportation access as the Sparrows Point peninsula,” added Kamenetz.
The Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development submitted the application for the 2016 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive
It’s hard to find a longtime Baltimore County resident who doesn’t know someone who worked at Sparrows Point -- a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker. Over more than 125 years, tens of thousands of men and women worked at the Sparrows Point steel mill, and at many other businesses connected to steelmaking.
The Point provided good paying jobs that supported families for generations.
Working here was more than a job. Whether you were in the hot mill, the tin mill or the cold mill; whether you worked in the office or drove a truck, working at the Point meant knowing that your hard work was making a difference.
Baltimore County steel helped keep America strong -- it was vital to the effort during two World Wars. Baltimore County steel stands in our nation’s infrastructure, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Part of my job as Baltimore County Executive is to step back and look at the big picture, to see how we can make the most of what makes our County great. At Sparrows Point, I see everything we need to bring back jobs for this generation -- and for generations to come.
The basis for our optimism is simple. Sparrows Point has a unique combination of assets that just can’t be found anywhere else along the East Coast: more than five square miles of industrially zoned land, deepwater access, and infrastructure and transportation, including rail service right to the front door.
Most exciting are the opportunities for expansion of the Port and port-related uses. We have every reason to believe that the Port could easily bring 10,000 new, family-supporting jobs back to the Point. Advanced manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and clean energy could add even more jobs.
There’s one more vital asset: we have people who work hard and work smart. These are workers who know what it means to put in a good day’s work for a good day’s pay.
Let’s face it: being a steelworker wasn’t the easiest job. The work was always hard and often dangerous. It took a combination of brains and brawn. But talk to any steelworker from any generation, and you’ll learn there’s something about working here that created a special bond that will last for generations, through good times and bad.
Shortly after the mighty L-furnace was built, steelworkers welded the “Star of Bethlehem” to its tower and lit it as a symbol of strength, pride and hope. I am pleased that the new owners of the property, Sparrows Point Terminal, are preserving the Star to help all of us, and future generations, stay connected to these values.
Let’s join with former steelworkers and their families as we look toward a bright future for the men and women of steel. We can all learn from their legacy.
Revised September 26, 2016