EBJ News for June 27, 2019

AECOM to spin off government services business

AECOM (Los Angeles, Calif.) is planning to spin off its Management Services segment into a standalone government services company. AECOM says the new public company will be a top 20 government services provider, as ranked by Bloomberg, and will leverage its intelligence, cybersecurity, IT, nuclear remediation and O&M expertise to deliver services primarily to federal agencies. In fiscal 2018, Management Services generated revenue of $3.7 billion and operating income of $200 million. Described as a “transformational initiative,” the spin-off follows several steps taken by AECOM to maximize shareholder value. Activist investor Starboard Value has since urged AECOM to look at selling its construction services segment, which contributed $8.2 billion to AECOM’s $20.16 billion in revenues in 2018.


NRC Group and US Ecology to merge

US Ecology Inc. (Boise, Idaho) is merging with NRC Group Holdings Corp. (Houston). The all-stock transaction has an enterprise value of $966 million. In a joint statement the companies said the transaction would create a national leader in industrial and hazardous waste management services; it would also establish US Ecology as a leader in emergency response services, in addition to adding a new waste vertical in oil and gas exploration and production. NRCG has more than 50 service centers and is a national Oil Spill Removal Organization providing mandated standby emergency response. US Ecology stockholders will own approximately 70% of the combined company, and NRCG stockholders 30%. The combined company will use the US Ecology name. NRCG’s pro forma revenue was approximately $389 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.


Willdan acquires Onsite Energy

Willdan Group Inc. (Anaheim, Calif.) is acquiring Onsite Energy Corporation (Carlsbad, Calif.), an energy efficiency firm specializing in energy upgrades and commissioning for industrial facilities. Onsite Energy generated approximately $20 million in revenue over the last year. “The industrial sector represents nearly 45% of all facility energy use in the U.S., and is a market we currently do not address,” said Tom Brisbin, Willdan’s CEO and chairman.


Timmons acquires Ward Consulting

Timmons Group (Raleigh, N.C.) has acquired Ward Consulting Engineers (WCE, Raleigh, N.C.). Led by Becky Ward, PE, for over 25 years, WCE provides civil engineering and construction management and specializes in stormwater management, flood studies, and stream and wetland restoration. Ward will serve as Timmons’ Stormwater Services Group Leader for North Carolina.


SCE awards San Onofre contract to North Wind

Southern California Edison (SCE, Rosemead, Calif.) has awarded a consulting contract to North Wind Inc. (Idaho Falls, Idaho) to develop a strategic plan assessing the feasibility of relocating spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre nuclear plant to an off-site facility. No federal licensed facility is currently licensed to receive spent nuclear fuel from a commercial nuclear energy site. SCE launched this effort following a 2017 settlement agreement related to the permitting of the on-site expanded spent fuel storage installation.


Heavy rainfall contributes to large hypoxic zone in Gulf

NOAA scientists are forecasting this summer’s Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone or “dead zone” – an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life – to be approximately 7,829 square miles or roughly the size of Massachusetts. The 2019 forecast is close to the record size of 8,776 square miles set in 2017 and larger than the five-year average. The hypoxic zone is primarily caused by excess nutrient pollution from urbanization and agriculture in the Mississippi River watershed. Contributing to the large dead zone was the abnormally high spring rainfall in many parts of the watershed, which led to record high river flows and much larger nutrient loading to the Gulf of Mexico. The annual prediction is based on U.S. Geological Survey river flow and nutrient data.


AECOM and Toshiba collaborate on nuclear decommissioning

AECOM (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Toshiba (Tokyo, Japan) have signed an Alliance Agreement to work together on decommissioning nuclear reactors in Japan. The Alliance will offer services to Japanese government organizations and commercial power utilities planning to decommission reactors and nuclear facilities. AECOM is a market leader in the U.S. and U.K. for managing high-hazard, complex nuclear decommissioning programs.


SLS Land & Energy Development acquires ESI Services

SLS Land & Energy Development, a surveying and engineering firm with offices in Charleston and Glenville, W.Va. has acquired ESI Services (Beckley, W.V.). SLS provides surveying, engineering, aerial mapping, and environmental services. “It’s a perfect fit, because ESI offers similar services, and its client portfolio will allow SLS to expand its offerings to a new region and emerging industries,” SLS President Sarah Smith said. ESI’s six employees will join SLS, bringing the company’s workforce to more than 40 professionals.


TRC partners with grid software engineer Opus One

TRC (Lowell, Mass.) has announced a strategic partnership with Opus One Solutions (Toronto, Ontario), maker of the web-based GridOS software platform. GridOS gives utilities and owners of distributed energy resources real-time visibility into the electricity distribution grid. “TRC is committed to helping clients improve grid resiliency and integrate renewable energy sources, and our partnership with Opus One will provide them with the industry expertise, technological tools, visibility and data they need to successfully upgrade and optimize their systems,” said Craig Cavanaugh, TRC’s vice president of IT/OT integration.


Black & Veatch and Inflowmatix join forces

Water companies in England and Wales have been tasked with achieving a 15% reduction in leakage by 2025. A new partnership between Black & Veatch (B&V, Overland Park, Kansas) and Inflowmatix (Southampton, UK) will help UK water companies reduce losses. The partnership will combine B&V’s program management, logistics, delivery and analytics expertise with Inflowmatix’s analytics, patented technologies and pressure sensing devices. Inflowmatix maps where a customer’s network is most at risk and helps water network operators control pressures and optimize services related to resilience, asset management, leaks and water quality.


SunPower operating at eight Whole Foods Market stores

SunPower (San Jose, Calif.) announced that more than 2.6 megawatts of SunPower solar projects are installed and operating at eight Whole Foods Market locations across two states, with one site combining an integrated storage system. The projects are expected to help Whole Foods replace 25% of traditional grid energy use, on average, per store. An additional two megawatts are planned across another 11 stores in California, expected to be online in early 2020.


U.S. solar market sees best Q1 in history

In the first three months of the year, the U.S. installed 2.7 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV), making it the most solar ever installed in the first quarter of a year, according to a new U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Assn. (SEIA). For the year, 25% growth is forecast compared to 2018, with more than 13 GWdc of installations. While the numbers are promising, “if we are to make the kind of progress we need to make the 2020s The Solar Decade, we will need to make substantial policy and market advances,” noted Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the SEIA.


Algonquin gets approval for wind farms in Missouri and Kansas

Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. (Oakville, Ontario) announced that its regulated utility business, Liberty Utilities, is acquiring three wind farms generating up to 600 megawatts of wind energy in Missouri and Kansas. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2019 and be completed by the end of 2020. The projects are expected to result in the investment of more than $1.1 billion while reducing energy costs for customers over the life of the project.