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EBI News for October 21, 2020- Global Warming, Loans, Acquisitions & Much More

EBI News for October 21, 2020- The following section highlights the latest news in the environmental industry. Including acquisitions, government aid offered to local organizations, and a prediction that 50% more people will need aid by 2030 due to global warming. Curious to know more? Keep on reading below.

 

TerraPower selected to demo Natrium nuclear technology

TerraPower (Bellevue, Wash.) has been selected by the U.S. DOE to demonstrate the Natrium reactor and energy system with technology co-developer GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and engineering and construction partner Bechtel. With $80 million in initial DOE funding, TerraPower will deploy a sodium fast reactor with a molten salt energy storage system that integrates into power grids with high penetrations of renewables. “This award is a transformational event in nuclear energy,” said Chris Levesque, TerraPower president and CEO. “In addition to its superior economics, the Natrium technology solves an entirely new problem that utilities face today, the need for clean, firm generation and power storage to operate in tandem with wind and solar.” DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program operates via cost-shared partnerships with industry. DOE is providing $160 million in initial funding to build two reactors within five to seven years. X-energy (Rockville, MD) is the other demo recipient.

Tetra Tech announces contracts with USACE and USAID

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Mobile District, has awarded Tetra Tech Inc. (Pasadena, Calif.) a $209 million multiple-award contract. Under the five-year contract, Tetra Tech will provide technical services for planning, assessments, and studies to support environmental initiatives for conservation, coastal and shoreline protection, wetland restoration, and sustainable infrastructure development. Tetra Tech also announced a five-year, $24-million single award contract by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen management of shared water resources and mitigate environmental risks for two major Central Asian river basins. Tetra Tech will help resolve complex trans-boundary water issues by designing and implementing a decision-support process that employs integrated water-energy-food systems modeling and advanced data analytics to improve understanding of the risks, vulnerabilities, costs, and benefits associated with different development pathways in these river basins. 

AECOM simplifies operating structure by integrating global design business

AECOM (Los Angeles, Calif.) has integrated its design businesses into one global organization led by Lara Poloni as president The initiative is intended to further simplify the company’s operating structure and enable greater connectivity across the enterprise. “Our greatest opportunity is to fully capitalize on the expertise that is inherent across our organization by thinking and acting as one global company, and in order to do that, we need to be structured as one,” said CEO Troy Rudd. Also in October, AECOM announced closing the sale of its power construction division to CriticalPoint Capital LLC. 

Environmental 360 makes two more acquisitions in October

Environmental 360 Solutions Ltd. (Toronto, Ontario) has acquired Whitecap Environmental Services Inc. (Mission, British Columbia). Founded in 2016, Whitecap Environmental provides hazardous and non-hazardous material destruction services, handling waste such as expired medication and pharmaceutical products, biomedical waste, chemical waste, pesticide and herbicide waste, paint and non- hazardous products. This acquisition marks E360S’s fourth since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Also in October, E360S added Airdrie Waste Management Inc. of Alberta. E360S’s goal is to become a leading North American environmental company through acquisition and organic growth.

$225 WIFIA loan for water reuse in Virginia

U.S. EPA announced a $225 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) in Virginia. This represents the first loan provided under an agreement that will commit $1.05 billion in WIFIA assistance to help finance one of the first major water reuse programs on the East Coast. The Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) program will use innovative water reuse and advanced water treatment technologies to replenish the overdrawn Potomac Aquifer and restore its water supply. The program will also improve the quality of Chesapeake Bay by reducing surface water discharges by approximately 100 million gallons per day—90 percent of HRSD’s discharge to the Bay watershed. 

UK regulator picks B&V for renewables audit program

Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kansas) has been selected to conduct a renewables audit program for the UK energy regulator Ofgem. B&V will audit onshore and offshore wind, solar, marine, biomass, hydro, and landfill and sewage gas generating sites. “It is a mark of our renewable energy team’s breadth of expertise that we have been entrusted to audit such a diverse range of technologies,” said Robbie Gibson, B&V’s Director for renewable energy in Europe. The audits aim to give Ofgem further assurances that the information provided for accreditation and renewable obligation (RO) claims is accurate. “Ensuring the RO scheme functions effectively is central to the UK’s NetZero ambitions. This is why the renewable electricity generator audits are so important.”

Scatec Solar sees opportunity in complementary hydropower and solar PV 

Scatec Solar (Oslo, Norway) has agreed to acquire SNPower (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), a leading hydropower developer and IPP, from Norfund for $1,166 million. The acquisition is part of Scatec Solar’s strategy to become a global player in solar, hydro, wind and storage solutions, and an integrator of high-value infrastructure solutions. The combined company will have 450 employees, power plants in 14 countries, and 3.3 GW of plants in operation and under construction. “Hydropower and solar PV are complementary technologies, resulting in new project opportunities, for instance, floating solar on hydro reservoirs. With this transaction we see great potential in broader project origination and geographical expansion into growth markets in South East Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa,” said Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar.

UN forecasts 50% rise in humanitarian aid related to global warming

As a result of global warming and intensifying weather-related disasters, the U.N. weather agency has warned that the number of people needing international humanitarian help could rise 50% by 2030 compared to the 108 million who needed it worldwide in 2018. The World Meteorological Agency says over 11,000 disasters have been attributed to weather, climate and phenomena like tsunamis that are related to water over the last 50 years — causing 2 million deaths and racking up $3.6 trillion worth of economic costs. Interestingly, over that period the average number of deaths from each separate weather disaster per year has dropped by one-third even as the number of such events and the economic costs from them have both surged.

Kleinfelder completes acquisition of Poggemeyer

The Kleinfelder Group (San Diego, Calif.) has acquired Poggemeyer Design Group (Bowling Green, Ohio) and its subsidiaries, expanding business in the Midwest and strengthening existing operations in Nevada. “In addition to adding technical expertise to core Kleinfelder services such as design, engineering, and construction management, PDG’s strong reputation and longstanding client relationships will accelerate Kleinfelder’s growth in strategic geographies and position the firm for expansion in new markets,” said Kleinfelder President and CEO Louis Armstrong. PDG is well positioned in the federal, state, and private infrastructure sectors; Nevada and Midwest operations will merge with Kleinfelder’s Central Division and East Division operations, respectively. This is Kleinfelder’s third acquisition within the last year, following Garcia and Associates and the environmental, geotechnical and construction materials and testing service lines of Advantage Engineers. 

NSF researchers design seawater electrolyzer for hydrogen fuel

The power of the sun, wind and sea may soon combine to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel, according to Penn State researchers. The U.S. National Science Foundation-funded team integrated water purification technology into a proof-of-concept design for a seawater electrolyzer that uses an electric current to split apart the hydrogen and oxygen in water molecules. This new method for “seawater splitting” could make it easier to turn wind and solar energy into a storable and portable fuel, noted environmental engineer and Penn State professor Bruce Logan. “Hydrogen is a great fuel, but you have to make it,” Logan said. “The only sustainable way to do that is to use renewable energy and produce it from water. You also need to use water that people do not want to use for other things, and that would be seawater. So, the holy grail of producing hydrogen would be to combine the seawater and the wind and solar energy found in coastal and offshore environments.”

LaBella expands presence in Alabama

LaBella Associates (Rochester, N.Y.) has acquired Highland Technical Services Inc. (HTSI) of Birmingham and Mobile, Ala. The new offices complement LaBella’s presence in Opelika, Ala. Led by owner and founder William “Billy” Cooch, HTSI has expertise in hazardous waste, solid waste, brownfield redevelopments, storm water, air permitting, underground storage tank management, and environmental assessments and permitting. LaBella and HTSI have collaborated in Alabama for years. “Uniting with HTSI was a natural progression of our relationship,” said LaBella’s Waste and Recycling Division Director Jenny Johnson.

SynTerra acquires Duncklee & Dunham

SynTerra Corporation (Greenville, S.C.), an employee-owned science and engineering firm, has acquired Duncklee & Dunham (Cary, N.C.). The acquisition gives SynTerra its ninth office across five southeastern states and increases the company’s staff to more than 180. Officials from both companies characterized the transaction as a unification of client-focused firms. Synterra’s capabilities include environmental consulting, water and wastewater design, civil engineering design, air and wetlands permitting, surveying, and drone applications. Clients include manufacturers, mining operations, utilities, pulp and paper companies, developers, and government agencies. Duncklee & Dunham was established in 1996 and has expertise in environmental assessment and remediation, industrial hygiene, and compliance engineering and design. 

AECOM updates Mobilitics to help transit agencies recover from pandemic

AECOM (Los Angeles, Calif.) has launched Mobilitics for Pandemic Response, an updated version of its transportation scenario-planning tool. This latest iteration helps transit agencies, departments of transportation, and other clients assess how pandemic infection rates, stay-at-home orders, availability and deployment of a vaccine, economic recovery and re-opening, and other factors are expected to impact transportation patterns in order to help clients better recover and strengthen resiliency.

 

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