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EBI News for March 18, 2021- Clean Energy Projects, New Strategies, and Acquisitions

EBI News for March 18, 2021- The following section contains the latest news stories in the environmental industry. Including acquisitions, clean energy projects, and new strategies.


DOE gets started on $75 million Grid Storage Launchpad

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced beginning design and construction of the Grid Storage Launchpad (GSL), a $75 million facility at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. The GSL will boost clean energy adaptation and accelerate development and deployment of long-duration, low-cost grid energy storage. Bringing together researchers and industry from around the country, GSL will “modernize and add flexibility to the power grid, advance storage technologies, and boost use of clean energy,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. The facility will include 30 research laboratories, some of which will be testing chambers for assessing prototypes and new grid energy storage technologies under real world grid-operating conditions.

AECOM launches large-scale field demonstration of De-Fluoro

AECOM (Los Angeles, Calif.) celebrated its first large-scale field demonstration of De-Fluoro, a treatment technology that destroys per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from contaminated liquids without generating hazardous waste. The pilot, in Melbourne, Australia, is the culmination of a multi-year global collaboration jointly led by AECOM’s Australian and U.S. PFAS teams. According to AECOM, unlike existing treatment technologies, De-Fluoro offers a complete PFAS destruction solution by applying proprietary electrodes through electrochemical oxidation; previously PFAS in contaminated groundwater or liquids were either stockpiled or incinerated at a huge cost. The initial pilot program will be focused on destruction programs for aqueous film-forming foam stockpiles and multiple PFAS-impacted waste streams in Australia.

Solar industry on track to quadruple by 2030

In 2020 the U.S. solar market installed a record 19.2 GWdc of solar capacity, a 43% increase over 2019, according to the 2020 Year-in-Review report by the Solar Energy Industries Assn. (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie. For the second year in a row, solar led all technologies in new electric-generating capacity added. Residential deployment was up 11% from 2019, lower than the 18% annual growth in 2019 due to the pandemic; non-residential installations declined 4% from 2019. In the utility PV sector, 6.3 GW were installed in Q4 2020, its largest quarter ever, while 2020 annual capacity additions reached nearly 14 GW, also the largest year on record. “After a slowdown in Q2 due to the pandemic, the solar industry innovated and came roaring back to continue our trajectory as America’s leading source of new energy,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper.

USGS announces new wildfire science strategy

To help address growing wildfire-related challenges, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is rolling out a Wildland Fire Science Strategy that lays out the critical needs for wildfire research over the next five years. The new fire strategy will guide future USGS research and help the agency provide information for land managers to tackle fire risks before they occur, during wildfire response, and after the flames go out. It also addresses emerging priorities such as climate change and supporting underserved rural communities and tribes. The USGS employs more than 100 scientists whose research focuses on fire-related topics. In the United States 2017, 2018 and 2020 were particularly damaging and deadly years for wildfires.

Terra Nova Engineering joins GTA family

Geo-Technology Associates Inc. (GTA, Abingdon, Md.) has acquired the Geo/Env firm Terra Nova Engineering PLLC (Nashville, Tenn.), expanding GTA into Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. Along with a staff of 15, founder Dan Terranova joins the GTA family as a vice president and shareholder. Terra Nova was established in 2013 and serves commercial and residential developers, municipalities, and other engineering firms. “The acquisition of Terra Nova serves to jump start our presence in Nashville and throughout Tennessee where we can expand our value-based solutions to problematic conditions and construction challenges, supported by the technical expertise and horsepower of our other 16 offices and nearly 400 employees,” said Dave Zmijewski, president of GTA.

Geosyntec acquires Zoic Environmental in Australia

Geosyntec Consultants (Boca Raton, Fla.) has acquired Zoic Environmental (Sydney, Australia), a 20-person environmental consultancy. This transaction expands Geosyntec’s presence in Asia Pacific and enables clients in the region to work with local Australian experts with increased access to a global network of technical leaders. Zoic has expertise in land contamination, vapor intrusion, soil and groundwater remediation, human health risk assessment, water resources, sustainability, compliance and litigation support. Geosyntec is a consulting and engineering firm in the environmental, natural resources, and civil infrastructure sectors with a professional staff exceeding 1,500 in more than 80 offices in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia.

Jacobs to lead design team for one of deepest nuclear cleanups

Jacobs (Dallas, Texas) has been selected by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. (DRSL, Thurso, Scotland) to lead the integrated design management team for one of the world’s deepest nuclear cleanups. The team will play a key role in coordinating the program to clear and treat radioactive waste in the shaft and silo at Dounreay near Thurso, a former fast-reactor research and development center. The Dounreay shaft extends 214.5 feet below ground and measures 15 feet wide in places; the silo is a large underground vault with a concrete roof. Both were used for disposal of intermediate-level waste in the 1960s and 1970s. DSRL estimates the contract value at $10.4 million over 6.5 years. DSRL is funded by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to deliver the site closure program.

Canada needs dramatic energy transformation to achieve net zero

Canada will need to triple its power production levels over the next 30 years with “very large capacities of new clean electrical generation” required to achieve net zero carbon by 2050, according to a March 2021 report by SNC Lavalin (Montreal, Quebec). Engineering Net Zero: Strategies And Solutions For A Net Zero Carbon Future suggests that new hydro resources should account for about half of the additional energy required from 2020-2050 or about 500 TWh of additional generation, representing implementation of approximately 3.5 GW per year. It also recommends that licensing for 1,000 MW class nuclear reactors begin immediately with one such reactor brought into service every year from 2030 to 2050, noting, “While aggressive, this accelerated new-build scenario is less than the nuclear new-build rates that both China and India are achieving today.” In the SNC Lavalin scenario, gas turbines would replace all remaining coal generation and combined cycle power plants built or retrofitted with carbon capture and sequestration; an additional 90 GW of wind (both onshore and offshore) would be added, and solar would grow to serve about 60 TWh of energy by 2050.

JFWCo joins SAM Companies

Civil Engineering firm SAM Companies (Austin, Texas) has acquired John F. Watson & Company (JFWCo, Midland, Texas), a geospatial services and consulting firm specializing in renewable energy and natural resource development. With more than 20 years of serving the electric utility market and providing professional services on wind, solar, battery storage, and transmission projects, JFWCo has client relationships throughout the United States. The JFWCo staff will be joining SAM as part of the acquisition, including key leaders and President John F. Watson. Founded in 1994, SAM is one of America’s largest geospatial and construction services firms.

RSK adds three more businesses in UK

Environmental and engineering services firm RSK Group Ltd. (Helsby, UK) has added three more UK-based businesses: CR Civil Engineering, Enviresearch Group, and E.D.P. Health, Safety and Environment Consultants. The businesses are RSK’s 12th, 13th, and 14th acquisitions of the 2020/2021 financial year. Enviresearch is a regulatory and risk assessment services provider to the global chemical industry; it employs 19 experts and also has an office in Portugal. Formed in the early 1990s, E.D.P. helps businesses manage health, safety, environmental and sustainability matters and also operates internationally through teams based in Ireland, Singapore and Australia. CR Civil Engineering provides groundwork civil engineering services to the highways, rail and other sectors.

SLR acquires Vectos

Environmental consulting firm SLR (Aylesbury, UK) has acquired Vectos (London, UK), a specialist in transport planning, infrastructure design and flood risk. “At a time when clients and markets are responding at an unprecedented pace to the climate emergency and the accompanying need for more sustainable, low carbon development, the addition of the Vectos team to SLR’s existing capabilities enhances our offer to clients on sustainable transport, infrastructure, and the future of mobility,” said SLR’s CEO Neil Penhall. This is SLR’s seventh acquisition over the last two years. Charterhouse Capital Partners became a major shareholder in SLR in 2018.

RSI wins DOE cleanup contract

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has awarded a new contract to RSI Services LLC (Oak Ridge, Tenn.), an 8(a) certified small business and Alaska Native Corporation, for cleanup services at the DOE/National Nuclear Security Administration Naval Reactors Kesselring Site in West Milton, N.Y. The contract is valued at up to $22 million over five years. The contractor will perform environmental remediation, demolition and removal of legacy facilities, regulatory services, and waste management and transportation.

EPA awards ICF $30M in environmental services

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded ICF (Fairfax, Va.) a new five-year contract valued up to $30 million to help assess, regulate, and remediate environmental hazards for various EPA programs, including Superfund. The work includes analytical and field support services, data review and validation, technical information and electronic data transfers and other support functions. The scope of work includes continued services to Regions 3 and 9 and was expanded by $5 million from the previous contract to include services to Region 5.


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