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EBI News for October 1, 2020- Transitioning Away from Fossil Fuels and Towards Carbon Neutrality

EBI News for October 1, 2020- The following section highlights the latest news stories in the environmental industry. Including China’s lofty goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2060, as well as California moving away from fossil fuels.

net zero climate emissions transitioning away from fossil fuels


China sets carbon neutral goal for 2060

On September 22 the world’s largest carbon emitter announced to the UN General Assembly that it aims to become carbon-neutral by 2060. The announcement was framed as a “direct response to the coronavirus pandemic and the more recalcitrant position of the Trump Administration towards the 2016 Paris Agreement,” Alex Whitworth, research director of Wood Mackenzie, said in a statement. In Wood Mackenzie’s recently released Accelerated Energy Transition Scenario, China’s emissions could fall nearly 60% by 2040 from 2019 using electrification, renewables, green hydrogen and carbon removal technologies. But these efforts will need to start much earlier and at a higher scale to deliver on the carbon-neutral goal by 2060, Wood Mackenzie reported. No roadmap was drawn, but “China’s upcoming 14th five-year plan has the potential to be the most important document in global energy market history.” China currently contributes about 28% of global emissions.

California takes another step away from fossil fuels

Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order to require sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035. The Air Resources Board will also be tasked with developing regulations to mandate that medium- and heavy-duty vehicles shall be 100 percent zero-emission by 2045 where feasible. California will be the first state in the nation to mandate 100% zero-emission vehicles. The order also requires state agencies, in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate deployment of affordable fueling and charging options. In other news, Newsom called on the state Legislature to end new fracking permits by 2024. The proposed phase-out of hydraulic fracturing would not cover a similar technique known as steam fracking or high pressure cyclic steaming.

Joint venture helps Alberta transition away from coal-fired power

BPC, a joint venture between Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kan) and PCL Industrial Management (Edmonton, Alta.), has been selected to construct a 900- MW, low-carbon natural gas combined cycle generating facility in Alberta under an EPC contract with developer Kineticor Resource Corp. The Cascade Power Plant, which will be located southwest of Edson, Alberta, is expected to help lead the province’s transition to a lower-carbon future by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from traditional power generation. The plant will rely on two SCC6-8000H gas turbines in a single-shaft combined cycle configuration with air-cooled condensers provided by Siemens Energy to offer a highly efficient, low-emissions power supply that should satisfy 8 percent of the province’s average power demand.

Waste management segment proves resilience during pandemic

Despite a reduction in waste volumes during the Covid-19 pandemic, the waste management industry has proven strong, with increasingly agile companies operating in what has historically been a resilient business, according to the Environmental Services banking team at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). The team issued its perspectives during Climate Week NYC. In the latter part of the first quarter and in the second quarter of 2020, most waste services companies experienced a reduction in volumes because of the pandemic. Commercial volumes declined roughly by 15%-25%; construction and demolition volumes also declined, albeit to a lesser extent as many construction projects continued throughout lockdown. Residential waste increased due to more people working from home. However, since residential pricing is generally based on volume not weight, few companies were able to pass on higher residential pricing in the second quarter. “Despite the pandemic, the industry was able to maintain consistently strong cash flows, service its debt, and provide returns to shareholders,” said MFUG Director Maria Maia.

Tetra Tech acquires BlueWater to broaden high-end technology services

Tetra Tech Inc. (Pasadena, Calif.) has expanded its advanced analytics business with the addition of BlueWater Federal Solutions Inc. (Chantilly, Va.), an IT systems and services firm. BlueWater has more than 350 employees with expertise in cybersecurity, mission-critical systems design, and development and operation of federal enterprise systems for government clients. “Our ability to integrate high-end technology and analytics in the delivery of customized water, environment, and sustainable infrastructure solutions is a key differentiator for Tetra Tech,” said Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech chairman and CEO.

Terracon boosts environmental services in Southwest and Western U.S.

Terracon (Olanthe, Kan.) has acquired Environmental Planning Group (EPG, Phoenix, Ariz.), a consulting company founded in 1999 and offering environmental planning and permitting, landscape architecture planning and design, biological and cultural resources, earth sciences, paleontology, GIS systems, and environmental mitigation and construction support. EPG’s approximately 50 employees will operate from offices in Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Las Vegas and continue to serve clients locally as Environmental Planning Group, A Terracon Company.

HGL to conduct PFAs remedial investigations for Air Force

HGL (Reston, Va.) has been awarded a 5-year multi-million dollar task order to complete a PFAS Remedial Investigation (RI) at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, with options to complete RIs at other bases in North Dakota and Kansas. The work is being performed for the Air Force Civil Engineer Center through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District. This award supplements the more than 150 PFAS investigations and response actions that HGL has performed at DOD, EPA, and commercial sites across the country.

Golder shares mine closure expertise in Australia

Global engineering and consulting firm Golder (Toronto, Ont.) has been appointed an affiliate partner to the Cooperative Research Centre for Transformations in Mining Economies in Australia (CRC TiME). Golder will share technical expertise in mine closure with the national consortium. According to Darren Murphy, Golder’s principal consultant and mine closure lead in Asia-Pacific, mine closure is a global challenge “with few examples of successful closure and relinquishment… Over the next decade, we can expect to see many new examples of successful repurposing, and the industry will benefit from a range of research flowing from bodies such as CRC TiME, so we’re thrilled to be involved.”

AEI Engineering joins Baxter & Woodman

AEI Engineering (Houston) is now part of Baxter & Woodman Inc. (Crystal Lake, Ill.). The merger will bring in-house professional planning, electrical, structural, GIS, information technology, transportation and surveying services into B&W’s Texas operations. The firm will operate under the name of AEI Engineering, a Baxter & Woodman company. Founded in 1946, Baxter & Woodman is one of the largest regionally focused civil engineering firms in the Midwest with more than 300 professionals. It currently operates four offices in southeast Florida as well as nine locations throughout the Midwest.

Brown and Caldwell and Black & Veatch team up to develop digester facility

The Orange County Sanitation District has engaged Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif) and Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.) to deliver professional design services for a new temperature-phased anaerobic digestion (TPAD) facility at its Plant No. 2 in Huntington Beach, Calif. The new Class A TPAD facility is the largest of several projects resulting from the District’s Biosolids Master Plan and will be capable of processing all wastewater solids generated from Plant No. 2 until 2045. The $300 million project involves the construction of six new thermophilic digesters and six new Class A batch tanks at Plant No. 2, allowing the facility to generate Class A biosolids. Brown and Caldwell, in association with Black & Veatch, will develop a preliminary and final design for the new TPAD facility at Plant No.2.

RSK acquires Boden + Wasser of Austria

RSK Group Ltd. (Helsby, UK), an integrated environmental, engineering and technical services business, has acquired environmental consultancy Boden + Wasser (Linz, Austria), adding to RSK’s existing Austrian business headquartered in Graz. This is RSK’s ninth acquisition of 2020. Boden + Wasser works in waste management, contaminated sites, geothermal energy, geology, environmental engineering, water management and tunnel drainage. The deal follows RSK’s acquisitions of European businesses Nicholas O’Dwyer (Ireland), Dr. Tillmanns & Partner (Germany) and Adverbo (Netherlands) between 2019 and 2020.

Economic uncertainty propels $52 billion trenchless technology opportunity

Financial stress and the aging pipe infrastructure of water and wastewater utilities present a unique opportunity for providers of trenchless technology solutions to expand their market positions, according to recent findings by Bluefield Research. Bluefield’s forecast of 3.4% growth for trenchless technology deployments will outpace broader municipal water infrastructure investment in a post Covid-19, recessionary environment. Bluefield’s new report shows total spend on trenchless technology options exceeding $52.5 billion over the next decade; the lion’s share (76%) will focus on the rehabilitation of underground assets, while the remainder will be for new construction. “Due to its cost-effectiveness, reduced environmental impact, and quicker project timelines, trenchless offers a potential bright spot for growth in a municipal market that is bracing for looming financial impacts,” said Bluefield Analyst Mariel Marchand.

EA awarded prime contractor role with Nebraska’s environment and energy department

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology Inc., PBC (Hunt Valley, Md.) has been awarded a prime contract by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) to provide environmental engineering services and technical support related to NDEE’s state and federal environmental programs. The initial performance period is five years, which may be extended for two separate one-year option years, for a total contract period of seven years. EA will provide a full range of environmental engineering services.

Stantec supports Batelle on NSF Arctic research contract

Stantec (Edmonton, Canada) will support Battelle (Columbus, Ohio) on a 10-year, $260-million Arctic Research Support and Logistics Services contract from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The team will support academic researchers conducting NSF-funded studies in Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, and other Arctic areas. Specifically, Stantec will provide engineering, design, and planning services for new and existing research facilities in some of the harshest regions on Earth. Stantec’s work will enable researchers to enhance studies in the Arctic focused on rapidly changing natural environment and social and cultural systems.


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