Ørsted Invests in Maryland Steel Fabricator

Ørsted has announced an 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 steelworkers to supply steel components that will be used to construct wind turbine foundations for Ørsted’s Mid-Atlantic projects.

Source: The Office of Governor Larry Hogan

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 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 the 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 center.

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”Crystal Steel is fortunate to have developed a long-term relationship with Ørsted,” said 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 two 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 Governor Larry Hogan joined Ørsted and Crystal Steel workers for the announcement at Crystal Steel’s facility in Caroline County, Maryland.

”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,” said Governor 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.”

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 USD 25 million in local investment in support of the Skipjack Wind program. The facility will serve as the permanent home of wind turbine maintenance technicians, engineers, operations personnel, and other key roles.

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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 USD 225 million in capital investments in Maryland, and create approximately 1,400 jobs statewide.

”Maryland’s Eastern Shore is an outstanding location for expanding offshore wind’s domestic supply chain,” said 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.”

Photo: The Office of Governor Larry Hogan