A first-class US OW infrastructure project was unveiled this week in the 3,300 acre (1,335.5 ha) Port of Baltimore logistics centre Tradepoint Atlantic. Ørsted have signed a major agreement to develop a wind energy deployment and maintenance facility on the East Coast. This will have the potential to support many of the developing US wind projects, but initially will be a milestone in the construction of Ørsted’s Skipjack Wind Farm, located 19.5 miles (31.4 km) off Maryland’s coast, and the expansion of local offshore wind energy workforce.
“Together with Tradepoint Atlantic, we are making history by developing the first offshore wind staging centre in Maryland,” said Claus Møller, Chief Operating Officer of Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind. “This new center will create good-paying jobs, leverage Tradepoint Atlantic’s outstanding location and logistical assets, and put Maryland on the map as a global offshore wind industry hub. We are proud to work with Tradepoint Atlantic to make clean energy the newest chapter in the storied history of the Sparrows Point site as we pursue our vision of a world that runs entirely on green energy.”
Large Infrastructure Project will Grow OW Industry
The Ørsted staging centre will be a significant infrastructure build totalling 50 acres (20.2 ha), including five acres (2 ha) adjacent to Tradepoint’s deep water inner berth. Ørsted will receive and dispatch components at the berth and have up to 45 acres (18.2 ha) designated for laying down and assembling of components destined for Skipjack Wind Farm. It is expected that around 1,400 local jobs will be created, including 913 full-time employees during development and construction, and 484 jobs during operation. The site was once home to the defunct Sparrows Point Steel Mill, formerly one of the largest employers in the area, and this is part of the process of regeneration.
“Today’s announcement is tremendously exciting and important, not only for the further development of Tradepoint Atlantic and Ørsted’s Skipjack project, but for the entire clean and renewable energy sector,” said Tradepoint Atlantic Chief Commercial Officer Kerry Doyle. “This represents the first step of many to come in growing the offshore wind industry and Tradepoint Atlantic plans to play a major role in making sure it thrives here in Maryland.”
Investing in the Future
The agreement is part of Ørsted’s commitment to a $13.2 million investment at Tradepoint Atlantic. Improvements will include strengthening ground bearing capacity at the port to allow heavy-lift cranes and specialised transporters to move wind turbine components - some weighing as much as 2,000 tons (1,814.4 tonnes) - from ships onto the site.
This facility is required to provide the necessary assembly and support capabilities for offshore wind developments on the East Coast of the USA. The improvement of the port area provides road and rail links inland and significant deep-water port berths.
Investments and the robust support of local and state government, will enable the development of the site through further infrastructure improvements. At completion, Tradepoint Atlantic is projected to generate 11,000 permanent jobs, $2.9 billion in annual economic impact and to become one of North America’s most important strategic commercial gateways.
Tradepoint Atlantic CCO Kerry Doyle adds, “Ultimately, because of this new partnership, Tradepoint Atlantic is positioned to become the supply chain leader up and down the East Coast for offshore wind energy – supporting and creating thousands of jobs in the process.”
The Skipjack wind farm is one of nine Ørsted projects under development or in operation on the USA’s eastern seaboard. The project was awarded offshore wind renewable energy credits by the Maryland Public Service Commission in 2017 and Ørsted plans to begin construction by 2021, with the wind farm coming online in 2022.
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By Julian Jackson – writer on technology, arts, blockchain and cryptocurrencies