Revitalizing Steel Mills to Create Clean Energy Components

Revitalizing Steel Mills to Create Clean Energy Components

Driving around Pittsburgh you can see remnants of the once booming steel town it once was. While there is still evidence of the massive steel presence in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh has become a massive medical and technology hub with less focus on manufacturing. The problem now is that we have many sites where steel was once manufactured sitting empty. This could change though because a partnership between the United Steelworkers union, Tradepoint Atlantic, and US Wind is working to utilize a steel mill in Maryland to fabricate wind turbines. This is not happening in Pittsburgh right now, but something similar could happen, allowing Pittsburgh to change from one of the most polluted cities in the country to a leader in renewable energy.

A project like this would help revitalize the Pittsburgh region and help create many clean energy jobs. This would be a great idea because wind turbine production has grown in the United States. There were 30 places around the country that manufacture wind turbines in 2004 which increased to 470 in 2011. Now the number is closer to 500 manufacturing facilities making wind turbine parts. More wind power components are going to be needed because this past March, the Biden administration announced plans to expand offshore wind power and New Jersey just built a $250 million facility that makes monopiles, the support columns on offshore wind turbines.

One hundred and fifty million dollars are being invested in Sparrow Point Steel in Maryland. Monopiles and other wind turbine components will be made at the facility. These parts will go to an offshore wind farm that is being built off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland called MarWin. This project is currently utilizing European made wind turbines, but they could switch to the American made parts once Sparrow Point is up and running. United Steelworkers and US Wind are both committed to the project and look forward to working together to make Sparrow Point a manufacturing facility again.

Pittsburgh would be another great city to manufacture wind turbines and other green energy products. If Pittsburgh, once a dirty, dark, and dusty city can turn itself around and make itself a manufacturer of green energy products, other areas around the country could follow suit. With the pandemic still going on and job numbers still down, wind turbine facilities could also bring good jobs to the region and build up the economy. For a long time, Pittsburgh was known as a dirty and polluted city because of its manufacturing and steel production. It could turn itself around and be a leader of production for green energy products by simply utilizing old, dilapidated steel mills not being used.

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“This was once the largest steel mill in the world. Now it’s going to build clean energy infrastructure” Fast Company (August 4, 2021). [Link]

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