Just days after its rebirth, the Baltimore Port Maritime Council made itself known at a historic groundbreaking and bill signing event at Sparrows Point, Maryland last Friday. The event celebrated Ørsted, the world’s largest developer of offshore wind projects, committing to operating a new wind farm component facility on the site of what was once the world’s largest steel mill complex.
Once the steel mill ceased operations in 2012, it became an unfortunate symbol of the Baltimore area’s post-industrial economic downturn. Those gathered at the Ørsted event—including Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller, U.S. Senators Chris van Hollen and Ben Cardin, among others—expressed optimism that the new wind farm component facility would instead symbolize an economic renaissance based on high-paying, unionized green energy jobs.
Speaking of a renaissance, the Baltimore Port Maritime Council made its public debut at the event after reconstituting earlier that week. Port Council President Mike McHale (of IBEW) and Secretary-Treasurer John Hoskins (of the Seafarers) were present, as was Port Council member Courtney Jenkins of the Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO. MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark Clements also was in attendance.
Ørsted’s plant will directly create 125 union jobs for our brothers and sisters in the building trades, with many more needed to take the components out to sea and to install them into the seabed. The facility will play a key role in enacting the POWER Act, which Gov. Moore signed into law at the event. The legislation sets a goal of generating 8.5 gigawatts of electricity via wind energy by 2035, enough to power roughly 3 million households.
The Maryland Energy Administration estimates that the legislation will create nearly 15,000 jobs to accomplish its goals, many of which are expected to be union.
“Maryland steel led the American economy in the 20th century,” Gov. Moore said at the event. “I want Maryland wind to lead the American economy in the 21st century.” The Baltimore Port Maritime Council couldn’t agree more.