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EBI News for April 06, 2022- SEC Proposes Rules to Climate-related Disclosures

EBI News for April 06, 2022 – The following news section contains the latest stories for the environmental industry. Including, SEC proposes rules to climate-related disclosures, acquisitions, and more!

M&A deals rise 34% in banner year for water industry

Water-related M&A surged in 2021, far outpacing the prior year by number of transactions and deal values, according to Bluefield Research (Boston, Mass.). The water market intelligence firm reported 498 announced deals, a 34% increase over 2020. The combined transaction sum for deals with disclosed values grew to $80 billion, up from $35 billion in 2020. Robust deal flow was reported across the six water segments tracked by Bluefield, with the biggest increases in Private Water and Network & Distribution, which together accounted for 57% of the 2021 total, highlighting anticipated growth opportunities to address utility operations and aging infrastructure. Treatment and Digital Water segments made up 17% and 15% of deal flow, respectively, pointing to the growing focus on water quality and trends toward smarter, digitally connected assets. Bluefield identified 13 water-related transactions that topped $1 billion in 2021 compared to three in 2020.


SEC proposes rules to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed rule changes that would require registrants to include certain climate-related disclosures in registration statements and reports, including information about climate-related risks. Requirements would include disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions. “Today, investors representing literally tens of trillions of dollars support climate-related disclosures because they recognize that climate risks can pose significant financial risks to companies, and investors need reliable information about climate risks to make informed investment decisions,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler.


Disclosure plans forecast to trigger billions in spending

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposal to mandate climate-risk disclosures by public companies represents a “seismic” shift in the regulatory landscape and would result in an estimated $6.7 billion of spending over the next three years on consulting, legal, assurance and digital solutions, according to the sustainability research firm, Verdantix (London, UK). To meet compliance deadlines cost effectively, Verdantix recommended that firms digitize climate risk analysis and carbon disclosure processes and pointed to tech innovators like Cervest, Envizi, FigBytes, Persefoni, Planetly, Watershed and Workiva as firms that have anticipated this demand and are well positioned in the market. 


Mabbett boosts ecology and planning with Nevis Environmental 

Mabbett (Glasgow, Scotland) took another step in its strategic growth journey by acquiring the assets of Nevis Environmental Ltd. (Inverness, Scotland), an ecology, environmental management, and planning services consultancy. Nevis Environmental will boost Mabbett’s technical team and skillsets and its environmental management support for infrastructure projects. This is Mabbett’s second major investment in the first quarter 2022, following the acquisition of GH Johnston Building Consultants. A third major acquisition is expected in early spring, with group expansion coming on the back of a year of double-digit growth.


AECOM partners with Genifuel on sustainable aviation fuel

AECOM (Dallas) has signed a strategic agreement with Genifuel Corporation (Salt Lake City, Utah) to scale up production of carbon neutral sustainable aviation fuel and biogas from wild algae and biosolids. The partnership employs a patent-pending process developed by AECOM to harvest wild algae and a patented process developed by Genifuel and the U.S. Department of Energy to convert algae and wastewater biosolids into renewable oil and gas. AECOM’s Algae Harvesting Hydronucleation Flotation Technology removes HABs, cyanotoxins, nutrients, and carbon from water, allowing recovered algae to be converted into commercial products such as biofuel. Genifuel’s Hydrothermal Processing uses heat and pressure to convert algae and biosolids into carbon neutral biocrude and biogas.


United Airlines invests in sustainable aviation fuel

United Airlines Ventures and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (OLCV) are collaborating with biotech firm Cemvita Factory (Houston) to commercialize the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) developed through a new process using carbon dioxide and synthetic microbes. A subsidiary of energy company Occidental Petroleum, OLCV is a founding investor in Cemvita. SAF is an alternative to jet fuel that uses non-petroleum feedstock and offers lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions. United Airlines and OLCV will fund development at Cemvita to convert carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons for SAF and plan to form a joint venture to commercialize the technology if performance targets are achieved. Cemvita is the third SAF-related technology to receive investment from United Airlines.


B&V and TGS collaborate on green energy production in Vietnam

Black & Veatch (B&V, Overland Park, Kan.) and The Green Solutions (TGS, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) have signed a memorandum of understanding to advance the production and supply of green hydrogen and green ammonia in Vietnam. The companies are aiming to produce 180,000 tons of green ammonia and 30,000 tons of green hydrogen per year to support regional decarbonization. TGS has appointed B&V to study production and storage of green hydrogen in Vietnam utilizing solar or wind power supplied through the grid. The study includes development of a green ammonia production plant and technology review. The Green Solutions specializes in renewable energy project development.


EA awarded Superfund engineering contract in Texas

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology Inc. PBC (Hunt Valley, Md.) has been awarded a statewide contract by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to provide Superfund engineering services. With a maximum value of $8 million, this Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract is for four years, with an optional one-year renewal period. EA will conduct remedial engineering, oversight services, and other duties at state Superfund sites and federal Superfund sites managed by the State of Texas.


Marsh launches ESG Risk Rating

Global insurance broker and risk advisor Marsh (New York, N.Y.) has launched ESG Risk Rating, an assessment tool that measures an organization’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance, enabling them to improve their ESG risks and gain access to additional insurance market capacity. Measured against more than 10 internationally recognized standards, ESG Risk Rating scores a client’s performance across 18 ESG themes. On completing the free assessment, the client receives an overall ESG risk score, as well as a rating for each ESG component. Liberty Mutual Insurance will offer clients in the United States and Canada who opt-in to Marsh’s ESG Risk Rating access to complimentary risk advisory services related to sustainability and climate change. “Embedding ESG is increasingly a source of competitive advantage to the organizations that do it well,” said Amy Barnes, head of climate and sustainability strategy at Marsh.


McDermott to build hydrogen spheres for Plug Power

McDermott’s (Houston) storage business, CB&I, will design and build two 500,000-gallon double-wall liquid hydrogen spheres for Plug Power Inc.’s (Latham, N.Y.) new green hydrogen production facility in Genesee County, N.Y. The production facility, employing Plug Power’s proton exchange membrane electrolyzer technology, is expected to produce 45 metric tons of green liquid hydrogen per day—making it the largest green hydrogen facility in North America. The project is currently under construction.


Engie completes $800M financing for 665MW of renewable projects

ENGIE North America (Houston) has completed tax-equity financing for its Iron Star and Priddy wind projects and equity financing for the portfolio of these assets plus the Hawtree solar project, which recently declared commercial operations. Together they total approximately 665 MW. Financial institutions participating in the financing included Bank of America, Wells Fargo and InfraRed Capital Partners. The three projects were constructed during 2021 and early 2022 and can produce enough renewable power for around 200,000 average American homes.


Governor announces New York is top community solar market

New York has become the top community solar market in the United States with more than one gigawatt of community solar installed and operational – enough to serve 209,000 homes across the state. Making the announcement, Governor Kathy Hochul said New York also has the largest pipeline in the nation with enough community solar under construction to serve an additional 401,000 homes.

Community solar enables access to solar for homeowners, renters, and business owners who may not have ideal conditions to directly install solar panels onsite. As the electric grid is supplied with energy from a solar array, subscribers receive a credit on their electric bills for their portion of the solar system’s output. Community solar made up 70% of total solar installations across the state in 2021.  The Solar Energy Industry Assn. and Wood Mackenzie Solar Market Insight 2021 Year in Review ranked New York as the national leader ahead of second-place Minnesota.


LJA expands engineering services in Georgia

Employee-owned LJA Engineering Inc. (Houston) has acquired Paragon Consulting Group (Griffin, Ga.), an engineering consulting firm focused on water resources and transportation projects. Brian Upson founded Paragon in 2003 and will stay on with LJA as president of Paragon. Paragon’s south-Atlanta location will become LJA’s 39th office and expands LJA’s total Southern U.S. presence in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and South Carolina to over 50 employee-owners in the region. “Paragon has a deep commitment to their region which directly aligns with LJA’s philosophy of being active and involved in the communities we serve,” said Scott McDonald, LJA vice president. LJA ranked 57th on ENR’s 2021 list of Top 500 Design Firms.


Keter Environmental acquires Link International

Keter Environmental Services (Stamford, Conn.), a recycling and waste management company, has acquired Link International Inc. (Temecula, Calif.), a company that reduces the amount of waste that its clients send to landfills. Link’s sustainability model helps businesses in distribution, food, retail, manufacturing, and other industries work towards zero landfill and achieve third-party-certified sustainability goals. “Link International’s unique digital platform for industrial end markets, its focus on ESG reporting, and its customer mix are highly complementary to Keter’s business,” said Santiago Perez, CEO of Keter.


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