EBJ News for January 18, 2017

OBG acquires Natural Resource Technology
OBG (O’Brien & Gere, Syracuse, N.Y.) has acquired Natural Resource Technology (NRT, Milwaukee, Wis.), an environmental engineering and consulting firm with offices in Chicago; East Lansing, Mich.; and Bloomington, Ill. OBG said this strategic acquisition supports its focus on the remediation of complex sites for the energy utilities, industrial, and federal markets. “One of our key strategic growth initiatives is to expand our sediment remediation capabilities across the country,” said Thomas Nowlan, OBG senior vice president and leader of the company’s environmental business. “NRT’s expertise in sediment and manufactured gas plant waste remediation, coal combustion residuals management, and ecotoxicology, together with OBG’s established remediation experience and presence in advanced manufacturing, energy, and wastewater engineering, will provide our clients a broader range of expertise to help complete their most challenging environmental and capital projects.” It is OBG’s third strategic acquisition in the past two years, which combined have added more than 160 new employees.

Montrose Environmental announces two air quality acquisitions
Montrose Environmental Group Inc. (Irvine, Calif.) has acquired Airtech Environmental Services Inc. (Chicago, Ill.), which will become a part of Montrose Air Quality Services LLC (MAQS), expanding MAQS’ national air quality testing presence. Airtech is a full service environmental consulting firm with expertise in sampling, analysis, monitoring, and consulting of stationary source air emissions. Montrose has also acquired Emissions Measurement Company LLC (EMCo, Denver, Colo.), expanding MAQS’ presence in the Central and Mountain regions. EMCo is an environmental services organization specializing in emissions measurement with operations in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana, Washington, Maryland, Kansas and Nebraska. Both of the acquired companies will operate under their existing names, and their teams will join Montrose. Terms were not disclosed. Montrose Environmental offers air quality, environmental laboratory and regulatory compliance services. Montrose acquired at least 10 small firms in 2015, but announced only the July acquisition of San Diego-based Nautilus environmental in 2016. Montrose has 42 offices and approximately 800 employees nationwide.

Compass Pointe Engineering joins McGill Associates
Compass Pointe Engineering (Shallotte, N.C.), a civil and environmental engineering firm, has merged with McGill Associates (Ashville, N.C.), cementing the longstanding relationship between the two firms that have collaborated on public and private projects over the past five years. With Compass Pointe’s addition, McGill Associates will serve clients from seven regional offices across North Carolina and Tennessee. Compass Pointe brings experience in planning, design, regulatory compliance, and construction management. “This experience is specific to the coastal market and its sensitive environments. In particular, Compass Pointe possesses a strong working knowledge of North Carolina’s Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) which governs many aspects of coastal engineering,” McGill Associates said in a news release.

ICF wins contract to establish criteria for nation’s drinking water
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water has selected ICF (Fairfax, Va.), a global consulting and technology services provider, for a contract to establish health protective criteria that ensures the nation’s waters are safe for drinking and recreation. The agreement with EPA’s Health and Ecological Criteria Division (HECD) has a capacity of $12.4 million and a term of 56 months, including one eight-month base plus four 12-month options. ICF has supported HECD programs and technical needs over the past 24 years, including through some of the nation’s most significant water-related crises.

UK environmental consulting grows 8.7% buoyed by infrastructure
The UK environmental consultancy (EC) market grew by 8.7% in 2015 to reach £1,574 million, outstripping the nation’s economic growth of 2.2% by a significant margin, according to the latest report from Environment Analyst (Shrewsbury, UK). This is the fifth consecutive year of growth and represents a significant acceleration following a painfully slow post-recession recovery period, buoyed by strong demand associated with infrastructure and development activities and a return to growth in public sector consulting work. However, the market has yet to surpass its pre-recession peak of £1,717 million recorded in 2008. Market growth in 2016 is projected at a more modest but still healthy rate of 4.6%, held back by the impact of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union and uncertainties impacting client investment decisions. Environment Analyst ranks the five top UK firms by gross revenue as: RPS Group, AECOM, Arcadis and WSP | ParsonsBrinckerhoff, and Jacobs.

Brown & Caldwell and WRF release water resources guide
Environmental engineering and construction firm Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.) and the Water Research Foundation (WRF) have released Blueprint for One Water, a practical guide for agencies seeking to manage water resources holistically and sustainably. Brown and Caldwell developed the blueprint, which was sponsored by WRF, with input from more than 800 water professionals. “With increasing uncertainties and challenges influencing the quantity and quality of this critical resource, utilities must commit to new ways of thinking to maintain reliable and resilient water systems,” said Wendy Broley, Brown and Caldwell water reuse leader and a co-principal investigator on the blueprint. The blueprint features lessons learned from early One Water adopters, plus spotlights on how visionary leaders are successfully applying the concept, along with recommendations for integrating a multi-stakeholder process.

SUEZ forms strategic partnership with cloud-based Rubicon Global
SUEZ (Paris, France), the €15 billion water and waste management giant, has led a $50 million funding round in the cloud-based waste and recycling company Rubicon Global (Atlanta, Ga.), setting up a “strategic partnership to revolutionize the waste industry.” SUEZ and Rubicon will partner on technology and data, accelerating the development and deployment of Rubicon’s proprietary cloud-based hauler management platform, customer portal, and mobile apps. “SUEZ is developing its offer to propose disruptive models and solutions in response to its customers’ needs and in favor of the circular economy…. Together, we will add a new dimension to waste management, both sides of the Atlantic, that is ever more digital and efficient, for a sustainable protection of resources,” said Jean-Marc Boursier, SUEZ’s group senior executive VP in charge of Recycling & Recovery in Europe.

B&W acquires UniversalAET
Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc. (B&W, Charlotte, N.C.) has acquired Universal Acoustic & Emission Technologies Inc. (Stoughton, Wis.), a provider of custom-engineered acoustic, emission, and filtration solutions. The deal is based on an enterprise value of $55 million. UniversalAET is expected to generate approximately $80 million of annual revenue in 2017. The new company will be named Babcock & Wilcox Universal. “UniversalAET expands our industrial environmental portfolio into noise abatement, introduces us to new end markets and customers, and gives us another avenue to serve natural gas power generation customers,” said B&W Chairman and Chief Executive Officer E. James Ferland. “This acquisition aligns with our strategy to grow our industrial market exposure and continue to increase our non-coal revenue base.”

Styles &Wood acquires The GDM Group
Integrated property services group, Styles & Wood Group plc (Sale, Greater Manchester, UK), has acquired specialist mechanical, electrical, and environmental consultancy The GDM Group Ltd. (Dartford, Kent, UK) for £4 million in cash and shares, with up to £3.1 million payable as deferred consideration. The acquisition enhances Styles &Wood’s expertise in engineering and professional services and will provide opportunities to broaden its work with new and existing clients. Incorporated in 2001, GDM has more than 50 employees, all of whom will remain with the business, which will be positioned within the wider Styles &Wood Group. GDM had revenues of £7.9 million in the unaudited financial year ended 30 April 2016.

Quercus fund reaps 9% return from renewable energy investment
The Quercus Renewable Energy Fund has sold its stake in ForVEI, a joint venture comprising Quercus Renewable Energy, VEI Capital, Foresight Solar VCT, and Adenium Solar Energy. ForVEI specializes in the acquisition of renewable energy infrastructure assets in Europe and has a portfolio of solar power plants in Italy. Quercus initially invested €8 million in ForVEI in 2011 and owned a stake close to 10% in the joint venture. The sale generated an IRR of higher than 9% for Quercus and represents the first disposal by the Quercus Renewable Energy Fund.

Pure Strategies measures sustainability benefits
Eight billion dollars were earned from sustainability efforts made by 153 survey respondents in 2015, according to research by sustainability consultancy Pure Strategies (Gloucester, Mass.). Top performers gained value in three areas: greater productivity, reduced risk, and enhanced growth. Survey respondents cited company efforts on resource efficiency, such as energy and water, as the key way to save costs across different productivity opportunities. Cost savings achieved included a 5-15% lower manufacturing cost, 9-16% lower supply chain cost, and 10-25% lower materials cost. The survey also showed that resource efficiency and sustainable chemicals management are key ways to reduce regulatory risk; 29% of U.S. electronics firms lost revenue due to non-compliance with the EU RoHS regulation, estimated at $1.84 million per firm. Measuring the business value from sustainability is critical, although a third of those surveyed do not measure these important benefits, noted Pure Strategies.

JWC Environmental buys wastewater technology firm
JWC Environmental (Santa Ana, Calif.) has acquired FRC Systems International (Cumming, Ga.). FRC offers industrial wastewater process design and equipment, expanding JWC’s offerings for its industrial and municipal wastewater customers. With special expertise in air flotation systems, FRC products and expertise have been used extensively in wastewater applications spanning the food and beverage, meat and poultry processing, and oil and gas industries, in addition to general manufacturing. JWC Environmental makes grinders and screening, compaction and washing systems for solids reduction and removal from wastewater.

EIA projects gains for renewables, even without Clean Power Plan
The United States could become a net energy exporter by 2026 as domestic production rebounds and demand at home remains flat, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2017 Annual Energy Outlook. The EIA’s report models projections of domestic energy markets through 2050. In a reference case based on existing policies (including the Clean Power Plan (CPP)), wind, solar, and natural gas will dominate capacity additions through the 2020s while coal will steadily decline. “Even if the CPP is not implemented, low natural gas prices and the tax credits result in natural gas and renewables as the primary sources of new generation capacity,” EIA projected; however, repeal could also have a more significant impact on the generation share of each resource. Without the CPP, coal generation is forecast to remain steady through the 2020s, while renewables and natural gas increase but at a slower rate. “EIA’s projections show how advances in technology are driving oil and natural gas production, renewables penetration, and demand-side efficiencies and reshaping the energy future,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski.

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