Ørsted selects Maryland’s Crystal Steel Fabricators for major offshore wind steel fabrication centre

Source: press release, 15 October 2021

photo: Ørsted
photo: Ørsted

Ørsted, the offshore wind energy specialists, has announced a major economic agreement that will establish Maryland’s first offshore wind steel fabrication center at Crystal Steel Fabricators in Federalsburg, Maryland. Ørsted’s investment in Crystal Steel will enable nearly USD 70 million in supply agreements and create nearly 50 new Maryland jobs, positioning local steel workers to supply steel components that will be used to construct wind turbine foundations for Ørsted’s Mid-Atlantic projects, which will power at least 1.3 million homes with renewable energy.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan joined Ørsted and Crystal Steel workers for the announcement at Crystal Steel’s facility in Caroline County, Maryland. Crystal Steel will begin construction activity on the new facilities this month. This investment is not conditioned on a potential future project award from the Maryland Public Service Commission. Rather, it is part of Ørsted’s comprehensive plan to invest in the development of a sustainable long-term supply chain that will enable the growth of the US offshore wind industry.

As a result of this partnership, Crystal Steel will increase its workforce by nearly a third, hiring up to 50 new local welders, fitters, CNC machine operators, painters, truck drivers, and more. The new facility will support development of at least three Ørsted projects: the Skipjack Wind program in Maryland and Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2 in New Jersey.

Crystal Steel’s workers will pre-fabricate, or manufacture, large-scale, steel components that are fundamental elements of the turbine foundations. These components, which range in size from 9 to 16 tons each and are as tall as 45 feet, will be used in the construction of the wind turbine foundation boat landings, ladders, internal and exterior platforms, railings, grating, and other items. Final assembly of these component parts will be completed locally for each project. For the Skipjack Wind program, components fabricated at Crystal Steel will be constructed at Tradepoint Atlantic, where Ørsted has invested in Maryland’s first offshore wind staging centre.

The agreement marks Ørsted’s second major economic commitment to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Ørsted announced in early October it will construct Maryland’s first emissions-free offshore wind operations and maintenance facility in west Ocean City, creating 110 jobs and generating $25 million in local investment in support of the Skipjack Wind program. The facility will serve as the permanent home of highly skilled wind turbine maintenance technicians, engineers, operations personnel, and other key roles.

Skipjack Wind 1 is a 120-megawatt offshore wind project under development 20 miles off the Maryland-Delaware coast. Awarded by the Public Service Commission in 2017, it will power 40,000 homes in the region, generate $225 million in capital investments in Maryland, and create approximately 1,400 jobs statewide.

“Ørsted is a cutting-edge company that has made it their mission to create a world that runs on green energy, and they are progressing toward that goal by continuing to invest in Maryland,” says Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. “I am confident that our state will continue to be a prime location for offshore wind development, and I want to thank both Ørsted and Crystal Steel for playing a key role in our success.”

“Today’s announcement is a win for Maryland, the environment, and our economy,” says US Senator Ben Cardin, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “This project proves that transitioning to clean energy isn’t just good for the environment; it’s good for jobs – good-paying construction and other positions. The wind project will create over 100 jobs on the Eastern Shore and 1,400 state-wide. Meanwhile, Skipjack Wind 1 will provide clean, carbon-free, renewable electricity to 40,000 homes.”

“Bringing more renewable energy to Maryland will not only help reduce harmful emissions and ultimately improve our environment, it’s also an opportunity to create good-paying jobs and reduce Marylanders’ energy bills. This investment will create new clean energy jobs in Federalsburg and support continued responsible offshore wind development in our state. I’ve been proud to fight for federal tax credits to support clean energy projects like this one, and I will keep working at the federal level to boost Maryland’s economy and support future opportunities in our communities,” says US Senator Chris Van Hollen.

“Congratulations both to Crystal Steel and Ørsted on this important USD 70 million partnership, investment, and announcement,” says Maryland State Senator Addie Eckardt. “Crystal Steel Fabrication in Federalsburg, Maryland is in just the right place at the right time to expand as Maryland’s first offshore wind fabrication centre creating up to 50 new jobs. The large-scale advanced components that are fundamental elements of wind turbines will be constructed on this campus and are essential for East Coast wind turbine development. What an exciting economic impact for Caroline County, the Eastern Shore, and Maryland.”

“Crystal Steel is fortunate to have developed a long-term relationship with Ørsted,” says William Lo, President of Crystal Steel Fabricators, Inc. “Both Crystal Steel and Ørsted have a shared commitment to deliver jobs and investment on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Over the last 2 years, Ørsted has demonstrated a vested and honest interest in supporting Crystal Steel’s efforts to contribute to the offshore wind supply chain in Maryland. We are eager and excited for the opportunity to partner with Ørsted, and to bring this to fruition for Maryland.”

“Maryland’s Eastern Shore is an outstanding location for expanding offshore wind’s domestic supply chain,” says David Hardy, CEO of Ørsted Offshore North America. “For decades, offshore wind steel fabrication jobs were located overseas, so we are particularly excited to bring these sustainable, good-paying jobs here to America as part of our buildout of a new 21st century American industry. As builder, owner, and operator of Skipjack Wind 1, we are deeply committed to investing in Maryland and the Eastern Shore for decades to come.”