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EBI News for May 24, 2023 – Biden Administration Makes $11B Investment in Clean Energy Across Rural America

EBI News for May 24, 2023 – The following news section contains the latest stories for the environmental industry. Including, Biden Administration makes $11B investment in clean energy across rural America, acquisitions, and more!

WSP reports higher than expected organic growth in Q1

WSP Global Inc. (Montreal, Canada) announced revenues and net revenues reached $3.49 billion and $2.67 billion in the first quarter ended April 1, 2023, up 28.7% and 27%, respectively, compared to the prior-year quarter. The increase in net revenue was principally due to acquisition growth of 15.8% and organic growth of 8.6%. During the first quarter, WSP completed two transactions: BG Consulting Engineers, a Swiss firm with 700 professionals; and Enstruct, a 75-employee structural engineering firm headquartered in Australia. WSP has since announced the pending acquisition of the 800-strong Australian engineering services firm Calibre and completed the acquisition of Quebec building engineering firm LGT. WSP President and CEO Alexandre L’Heureux said in an earnings call that Calibre “belts on the 2021 acquisition of Golder and aims to further position WSP as a leader in the mining industry’s green transition in Australia and across the globe.”


Route approval for SunZia Transmission Project

Pattern Energy Group LP (San Francisco, Calif.) has welcomed the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management’s Record of Decision on the SunZia Transmission Project. Under development for 16 years, the project will be composed of two 500-kilovolt transmission lines across approximately 520 miles between central New Mexico and central Arizona and will give SunZia Wind—one of the largest wind projects in the Western Hemisphere—access to western energy markets. According to Pattern Energy, full construction will start this summer and be completed in 2026. The SunZia transmission and wind projects are expected to generate $20.5 billion in total economic benefit, which includes over $8 billion of direct capital investment at no added cost to ratepayers. 


Jacobs announces fiscal Q2 and CMS spin-off

Jacobs Solutions Inc. (Dallas) announced revenue of $4.1 billion, up 6.4% year over year, for the fiscal second quarter ended March 31, 2023. Net revenues were up 5.2% year over year and up 8% in constant currency. Jacobs continued to see increasing momentum in critical infrastructure, including water, transportation and sustainability. Separately, the company announced it would be spinning off its Critical Mission Solutions (CMS) business, resulting in two independent companies. According to Jacobs’ CEO Bob Pragada, separating the CMS business “represents the next step in our strategic portfolio transformation, unlocking enhanced long-term shareholder value by creating a streamlined higher growth, higher margin business portfolio focused on critical infrastructure and sustainability.”


EA awarded contract for Carroll County landfill expansion and RRP

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology Inc. PBC (Hunt Valley, Md.) has embarked on an overall site master plan to expand the existing municipal solid waste landfill and site a new resource recovery park (RRP) in Carroll County, Md. Valued at more than $4 million, the contract was awarded by the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority. “Having worked with more than half of Maryland’s counties, EA is among the largest solid waste management service firms headquartered in the state,” said Mark Gutberlet, EA vice president and program manager.


EFCG expects robust AEC M&A market

According to a recent post by Environmental Financial Consulting Group (EFCG) following its 2023 CFO Conference in April, M&A multiples in the AEC sector remain highly correlated with the target firm’s gross revenue, and the valuation arbitrage has increased significantly over the last several years in large firms’ favor. However, the recent increased cost of debt and cloudy economic and geopolitical outlook have impacted the M&A environment, causing buyers to move down-market and focus more on buy-and-build strategies to create value. “This shift in demand has caused multiples for small firms to edge higher, while multiples for large- and mid-sized firms have trended slightly lower,” EFCG observed. “Given the still record-high levels of dry powder that PE investors need to deploy, demand (and willingness to pay) remains high for very large AEC firms, particularly for those that remain employee-owned. We expect a robust M&A market in the upcoming half of 2023.” 


Montrose acquires Greenpath Energy of Canada

Montrose Environmental Group Inc. (Little Rock, Ark.) has acquired GreenPath Energy Ltd. (Calgary, Alberta), an optical gas imaging and fugitive emissions management services firm. GreenPath’s leadership team will be integrated into Montrose’s Measurement and Analysis segment. Founded in 2007, GreenPath specializes in working with oil and gas companies.


Biden Administration makes $11B investment in clean energy across rural America

The Biden-Harris Administration announced nearly $11 billion in grants and loan opportunities to help rural energy and utility providers deliver clean energy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this represents the single largest investment in rural electrification since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act into law in 1936. Funding is available through two programs under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act: USDA’s Empowering Rural America (New ERA) program, which makes $9.7 billion available to rural electric cooperatives to deploy renewable energy systems, zero-emission and carbon capture systems; and the Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program, which makes $1 billion available in partially forgivable loans to help finance large-scale solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower projects and energy storage. 


ICF reports first quarter 2023 results

ICF (Reston, Va.) reported that total revenue for its first quarter ended March 31, 2023 increased 16.9% to $483.3 million compared to the first quarter of 2022. Service revenue was $351.3 million, up 15.3% year-over-year. “Revenue growth was broad-based, led by double-digit increases in revenue from federal government, commercial, and state and local government clients,” said Chair and CEO John Wasson. “Within those client categories, we continued to see strong demand for our services in the key growth areas of IT modernization, public health, disaster management, utility consulting and climate, environmental and infrastructure services.” In the first quarter, contract awards increased more than 13% from year ago first quarter levels, with over 85% representing new business. Highlights included a new $25.9 million contract with a U.S. territory to support its new energy program that will provide households with renewable energy installations in case of an extended power outage. 


China’s solar exports up 64% in 2022 despite global trade tensions

China’s solar exports grew 64% to $52 billion in 2022, according to analysis from Wood Mackenzie. “Trade tensions have taken a back seat to high power prices driven by the energy crisis, and this is causing consumers and developers from around the world to buy more solar panels from China,” said Alex Whitworth, research director from Wood Mackenzie. Chinese modules kept their cost-competitiveness against other markets in 2022 and were up to 57% cheaper than U.S. and EU produced modules. “The U.S. is counting on the IRA, which will allocate at least $41 billion to stimulate domestic manufacturing. But costs still favor imported modules, and even as more local module production comes online in coming years, there will be persistent dependence on imports of components from Asia.”


Stantec completes integration of Environmental Services U.S. operation

Stantec (Edmonton, Alberta) announced it has reorganized its Environmental Services (ES) leadership team in the United States and appointed new U.S. regional business leaders after integrating three acquisitions: the North America and Asia Pacific engineering and consulting groups of Cardno; Cox|McLain Environmental Consulting Inc. (Austin, Texas); and Paleo Solutions (Los Angeles, Calif.). The acquisitions have doubled Stantec’s ES staff in the United States and “propelled Stantec to become a major player in the U.S. environmental services industry,” according Susan Reisbord, executive vice president of Environmental Services.


GM BluePlan joins GEI Consultants

GEI Consultants (Woburn, Mass.) announced that GM BluePlan (Toronto, Ontario), an engineering, management, and technology consulting company, has joined GEI. GM BluePlan provides full life cycle engineering services. “The combination of GM BluePlan with GEI Canada creates one of Ontario’s leading employee-owned firms,” said Peter Ventin, GEI’s regional leader in Canada. The merger is in line with GEI’s strategic plan to expand and grow services and clients in the Canadian marketplace, which began with the opening of GEI’s Toronto office in 2018. With the addition of GM BluePlan, GEI has nearly 400 team members in Ontario.


True Environmental announces partnership with Matrix New World

Environmental consulting and engineering firm Matrix New World (Florham Park, N.J.) has partnered with True Environmental, a platform focused on collaborating with founder and employee-owned consulting and engineering firms to help provide capital solutions to accelerate growth and liquidity events for ownership transition. Founded in 1990, Matrix New World provides regulatory permitting, ecology and natural resource studies, coastal resiliency planning, geotechnical engineering, surveying, and other civil engineering services. The company has offices in New Jersey, Louisiana, and Arizona and more than 220 employees. True Environmental is backed by Halle Capital and led by industry veteran Jim Stamatis, former CEO of Louis Berger.


Pinchin grows U.S. business with Ransom acquisition

Pinchin (Mississauga, Ontario), an environmental, engineering, building science, and health and safety consulting firm, is continuing to grow its business in the United States with the acquisition of Ransom Consulting LLC, a multi-disciplinary engineering and environmental company serving the commercial real estate, government, and industrial markets. Ransom has offices in Portland, Maine, Portsmouth N.H., Providence R.I., North Andover, Mass., and Glassboro and Hamilton, N.J. The acquisition lays the foundation for Pinchin’s expansion into the northeast U.S. market. Established in 1981 to provide consulting services to the asbestos abatement industry, Pinchin has grown to over 1,000 staff in more than 50 offices across North America.

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