Before it closed in 2012, Sparrows Point in Maryland was home to the largest steel mill in the world, supplying key components for shipbuilding and large infrastructure projects in the US, such as the girders of the Golden Gate Bridge. Now, the site of the former mill will now be given a new lease of life as a manufacturing facility to support offshore wind energy — and provide hundreds of jobs in the process.
The project is the result of a new partnership between the United Steelworkers union, the property owner Tradepoint Atlantic, and US Wind, a renewable energy company. As part of the collaboration, Maryland will become home to its first permanent steel-and-offshore-wind fabrication facility, creating 500 full-time union steelworker manufacturing jobs, along with about 3,500 construction jobs, and support US Wind’s clean energy projects, reports Fast Company.
The Sparrows Point is just another example of how investment in green energy to fight climate change could has the potential to create millions of energy jobs around the world, including manufacturing vital infrastructure for wind- and solar energy systems. In the US, that job field, together with the presence of wind turbine production, has already been growing.
In 2004, for instance, there were only 30 US manufacturing facilities making turbines and other wind energy components. By 2011, that number has risen to a whopping 470. Now there are more than 500 manufacturing plants across the country making wind turbines blades and towers and assembling those turbines, according to the US Department of Energy.