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News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

EDMONTON, ALBERTA and NEW YORK, NEW YORK--(Marketwired - May 11, 2017) - Stantec (TSX:STN)(NYSE:STN) achieved good operating results in the first quarter of 2017, with a 69.0% increase in gross revenue compared to the first quarter of 2016. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) rose 35.0%, while adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) remained stable at $0.40 quarter over quarter. Growth was led by acquisitions completed in 2016 and organic growth in the Water and Infrastructure business operating units, which together make up nearly 50% of the Company's gross revenue. Operations in the United States also experienced organic growth. Overall organic revenue is trending in a positive direction, with retraction decreasing from 4.4% in the fourth quarter of 2016 to 2.4% in the first quarter of 2017. Also positively impacting results was an increase in gross margin--from 53.9% in Q1 16 to 54.1% in Q1 17--mainly due to the mix of projects acquired from MWH Global, Inc. (MWH). Stantec's revenue growth was partly offset by organic gross revenue retraction in some business operating units and the impact of foreign exchange. "Stantec had a good quarter. Our operating results show that the Company is moving in a positive direction," says president and chief executive officer, Bob Gomes. "Our recent acquisitions are already contributing significantly to growth, organic gross revenue growth is up for both our Water and Infrastructure operations, and overall organic growth is trending in the right direction as the rate of retraction decreases. We're also pleased by the strategic divestiture of our water software company, Innovyze. Now both companies can continue to prosper with the best available resources, and we have an opportunity to reduce debt." The sale of Innovyze, Inc. (Innovyze) results in a significant reduction in goodwill and debt, but the low tax base of this asset acquired from MWH created a high tax liability that will impact Stantec's year-to-date results in 2017. Because of the accounting method required to account for this strategic divestiture, Stantec had a net loss of $58.0 million in the quarter and a diluted loss per share of $0.51. A detailed explanation of this transaction is provided below under "Subsequent Event." Stantec's Infrastructure business operating unit experienced organic gross revenue growth of 2.3% over the first quarter of 2016 due to strong organic growth in the US transportation sector and stability in Canadian transportation activities. Compared to the first quarter of 2016, the Water business operating unit experienced 2.2% organic revenue growth, with organic growth occurring in both Canada and the United States. The Environmental Services business operating unit had stable organic revenue in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter of 2016. The Company's Buildings business operating unit experienced organic revenue retraction of 6.8% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter of 2016, which was a very robust quarter for Buildings. Strong organic growth in the United States was offset by retraction in Canadian and Global operations, primarily due to continued weakness in the oil and gas sector, which affected private and public spending in Canada and the Middle East. Also contributing to the retraction in Buildings was the number of large public-private partnership projects that have been awarded but will not contribute revenue until later in 2017. Stantec's Energy & Resources business operating unit experienced a 13.2% retraction in Q1 17 compared to Q1 16 due to the continued weakness in the oil and gas and mining sectors, though this retraction is at a reduced rate compared to 2016. During the quarter, the Company made substantial progress integrating MWH America's financial information and projects into Stantec's enterprise management system and harmonizing the policies and practices of MWH and Stantec. During the quarter, Stantec signed an agreement for the sale of its water software business, Innovyze, Inc. and subsidiaries, to the EQT Mid Market US fund. Innovyze joined Stantec as part of the MWH acquisition in 2016; subsequently, the Company determined that Innovyze did not add synergies to Stantec's core business. The sale of Innovyze closed on May 5, 2017, for gross proceeds of US$270 million (approximately $359 million), less working capital adjustments and assumed indebtedness. This strategic transaction will reduce an estimated $292 million of goodwill and intangible assets, pay down approximately $202 million of debt, and result in an estimated pre-tax accounting gain of $53 million. Because the Innovyze sale was probable in Q1 17, in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards, Stantec recorded a deferred tax liability and expense regarding the value of its net investment in Innovyze. Because of the timing of the sale, a deferred tax charge impacted net income by $90.4 million; this charge will be reversed in Q2 17 when the gain on sale is realized and a current tax provision is recorded. This deferred tax charge decreased diluted EPS by $0.79, resulting in a diluted loss per share of $0.51. Management believes EBITDA, adjusted net income, and adjusted EPS better reflect Stantec's operating performance. Also note that the deferred tax charge does not affect Stantec's liquidity, cash flows from operating activities, or debt covenants in the first quarter. The expected gain for tax purposes of approximately $344 million is higher than the accounting gain because the adjusted cost base (for tax purposes) of Innovyze is approximately $13 million and the fair value grew organically over time. The related net tax expense on the sale will be approximately $110 million. The table below summarizes the Q1 17 impact and estimated impact that this transaction, which straddles two quarters, will have on Stantec's Q2 17 and year-to-date results: On April 13, 2017, Stantec declared and paid a cash dividend of $0.1250 per share to shareholders of record. On May 10, 2017, the Company also declared a dividend of $0.1250 per share, payable on July 13, 2017, to shareholders of record as of June 30, 2017. As part of the Company's commitment to doing business that meets the needs of the present while contributing to an environmentally, socially, and economically viable future, Stantec recently published its 2016 Sustainability Report. Prepared in accordance with the internationally recognized Global Reporting Initiative's G4 framework, the report shares Stantec's ongoing commitment to social, environmental, and economic sustainability; addresses the Company's sustainability performance for fiscal year 2016; and outlines its forward-looking plans for 2017. It also fulfills Stantec's commitment to reporting on the United Nations Global Compact's 10 principles of sustainability and corporate citizenship. The report is available at stantec.com/about-us/sustainability.html. Stantec's first quarter conference call--to be held Thursday, May 11, at 2:00 PM MDT (4:00 PM EDT)--will be broadcast live and archived in the Investors section of stantec.com. Financial analysts wanting to participate in the earnings conference are invited to call 1-866-222-0265 and provide the operator with confirmation code 2887233. Stantec's Annual General Meeting of Shareholders will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2017, at 10:30 AM MDT (12:30 PM EDT) at Stantec Center, 10160 - 112 Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta. We're active members of the communities we serve. That's why at Stantec, we always design with community in mind. The Stantec community unites approximately 22,000 employees working in over 400 locations across 6 continents. We collaborate across disciplines and industries to bring buildings, energy and resource, environmental, water, and infrastructure projects to life. Our work--engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, construction services, project management, and project economics, from initial project concept and planning through to design, construction, commissioning, maintenance, decommissioning, and remediation--begins at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Our local strength, knowledge, and relationships, coupled with our world-class expertise, have allowed us to go anywhere to meet our clients' needs in more creative and personalized ways. With a long-term commitment to the people and places we serve, Stantec has the unique ability to connect to projects on a personal level and advance the quality of life in communities across the globe. Stantec trades on the TSX and the NYSE under the symbol STN. Visit us at stantec.com or find us on social media. Stantec's EBITDA, adjusted net income, and adjusted diluted earnings per share are non-IFRS measures. For a definition and explanation of non-IFRS measures, refer to the Critical Accounting Estimates, Developments, and Measures section of the Company's 2016 Annual Report and the Company's 2017 First Quarter Management's Discussion and Analysis. Certain statements contained in this news release constitute forward-looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, trends in organic revenue growth; anticipated revenue from future P3 projects, and the timing thereof; and the anticipated accounting treatment, use of proceeds, and accounting gains, transaction costs and tax liabilities associated with the Innovyze sale. Any such statements represent the views of management only as of the date hereof and are presented for the purpose of assisting the Company's shareholders in understanding Stantec's operations, objectives, priorities, and anticipated financial performance as at and for the periods ended on the dates presented, and may not be appropriate for other purposes. By their nature, forward-looking statements require us to make assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties. We caution readers of this news release not to place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements since a number of factors could cause actual future results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, uncertainty regarding US tax reform; changing market conditions for Stantec's services; the risk that Stantec will not meet its growth or revenue targets; and the risk that the projects contemplated in this news release will not contribute significant revenue when expected or at all. Investors and the public should carefully consider these factors, other uncertainties, and potential events, as well as the inherent uncertainty of forward-looking statements, when relying on these statements to make decisions with respect to our Company. For more information about how other material risk factors could affect results, refer to the Risk Factors section and Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements in our 2016 Annual Report and the 2017 First Quarter Management's Discussion and Analysis. Stantec's 40-F has been filed with the SEC, and you may obtain this document by visiting EDGAR on the SEC website at sec.gov. You may obtain our complete audited annual consolidated financial statements and associated Management's Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2016 (which form our 2016 Annual Report) by visiting EDGAR on the SEC website at sec.gov, on the CSA website at sedar.com, or at stantec.com. Alternatively, you may obtain a printed copy of the 2016 Annual Report free of charge from our Investor Contact noted below. Continued, Consolidated Statements of Financial Position and Consolidated Statements of Income attached


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: cleantechnica.com

As governments are focusing increasingly on industrial growth strategies, offshore wind is becoming a double win for policymakers, says Ray Thompson, Head of Business Development at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. “Offshore wind helps them to achieve carbon targets and to create new jobs.” Thompson explains how the industry managed to bring costs down spectacularly and what is still in store: “Offshore wind is coming to represent a major challenge to competing technologies.” For Ray Thompson, nothing illustrates the progress of offshore wind better than the new Siemens blade manufacturing facility and project execution harbour in Hull in northern England, opened in December last year. “The facilities have already created 800 new jobs and the numbers on site will rise to over 1,000 when full production is reached.” For policymakers the new operations in ‘Green Port Hull’ in Northern England, where skilled manufacturing jobs are scarce, are welcome news. Thompson, who has been involved in the UK energy sector for 35 years and now manages public affairs for Siemens in London (“talking about wind is what I do for a living”), projects like the one in Hull provide the best guarantee for the future of offshore wind. “Offshore wind could easily provide 20-30% of UK electricity supply in future” Wholesale electricity prices in the UK are so low at the moment, he points out, that “there is no business case for any plants, so government will always have to intervene to decide what will be in the mix. And policymakers are increasingly focused on the economic benefits of energy production, in addition to concerns over security of supply, cost and climate.” What this means for offshore wind is “that as long as we are able to offer low costs, there is every reason for them to support us”, says Thompson. And low cost is certainly what the industry is able to offer. “We have seen truly dramatic reductions in our costs”, says Thompson. “In 2012, the UK Government set a target for the industry to achieve a levelised cost of £100/MWh for projects reaching financial close in 2020. Incredibly, the industry has managed to achieve this four years ahead of target, with the projects reaching financial close in 2016 doing so at £97/MWh.” He notes that “in the UK the last auction for support for offshore wind farms again delivered significant cost reductions, with East Anglia and the Neart na Gaoithe projects winning the auctions at much lower prices than previous wind farms. Some European projects recently won auctions at even lower prices, a Danish near shore project successfully won an auction with a bid of less than €50/MWH and while there are some differences to UK projects – developers in Denmark don’t pay development or grid costs – it still indicates fantastic progress in the right direction.” Probably the most important factor in bringing costs down has been the increase in the size of the turbines. “When we installed the London Array project in 2012 – still the largest offshore wind project in the world – it consisted of 175 turbines each generating 3.6MW. For the same size project today we’d be more likely to plan turbines of 7 or 8MW so we could build the same project with around 90 turbines. Installing 90 foundations, 90 cables and the installation activities involved massively reduces the cost of the project compared to 175.” But it’s not just about big turbines, he adds. “We are driving down costs across every part of the business, from design to installation, operation and maintenance. For example, we now have highly specialised installation vessels, designed specifically from the outset for our task. We have better, more experienced crew on the vessel and highly automated lifting kit to ensure safe operations offshore in much higher wind speeds than we ever could before.” “Our aim offshore is to install the turbine components, connect, test and commission the turbine within 24 hours of the vessel being on station at the installation location. Better equipment skills and planning means we are doing in hours what previously took days to achieve.” The new vessels are “part of the industrialisation of the industry which has enabled us to drive down cost”, says Thompson. “We’ve also seen investment from other port operators in facilities across the UK providing us the large marshalling sites we need to safely and effectively execute our offshore projects.” On the operations and maintenance side, the story is the same. “Larger turbines mean fewer components offshore and the change of a design philosophy to direct drive turbines means each turbine has half the number of moving parts compared to previous generations. We’re also better at monitoring and understanding the performance of turbines so our maintenance activities are getting smarter and we’re visiting each turbine less often; a big driver of costs.” “We are likely to see bids beneath the £92.50 offered by the Government to the first of the nuclear plants” On the denominator side of the cost equation is the higher energy production that can now be achieved. Thompson: “Again, all aspects are showing progress. The latest turbines have huge rotor diameters, advanced aerodynamics and more reliable technologies. This ensures that the maximum possible energy production is achieved and, by working with our customers, we are driving up availability and output from the turbines.” The capacity factor of the latest offshore wind farms is already at 50%, he adds. So how far could the development of offshore wind go? How much could it contribute, for example, to UK electricity supply? Thompson: “Wind energy currently supplies 11% of UK electricity demand. Half of that is offshore wind. We have 5 GW of offshore wind installed. Another 30 GW has already been planned or identified. And we hope to do more after that. So offshore wind could easily provide 20-30% of UK electricity supply in future.” He is convinced that this will not create any problems for the power system. “Wind power is variable, but not unpredictable. The people who manage the grid can handle it. Of course it would be crazy to have a system designed entirely around wind. It has to be part of a balanced energy mix. In the UK that means mostly with gas-fired power stations. Coal is rapidly being phased out altogether.” “It’s staggering to think that in not much more than five years, we could have turned a technology seen as prohibitively expensive into the lowest cost, utility-scale technology available” Offshore wind has in fact become so reliable that pension funds and other risk-averse institutional investors are eager to invest in projects, says Thompson. “They are not only willing to invest in completed parks, they are even willing to participate in construction stage investments. This reflects the move of the industry from a new sector to one which is seen as a mature and safe investment. The cost of capital for wind farm investment has fallen dramatically with investors and banks accepting lower returns for the lower levels of risk involved. As the industry has matured so have our customers, and we now have a core of key customers who are experienced in offshore, and this increased sophistication further drives down cost.” How far does Thompson think that cost reductions can still go? “We will shortly get another measure of our progress in the UK as we have the next auction round running across the summer”, he says. “Analysts and our own internal evaluations suggest that the developers will compete aggressively for the support available. We are likely to see bids beneath the £92.50 offered by the Government to the first of the nuclear plants. If the forecasts turn out to be correct, then the point at which offshore wind can compete with the lowest cost of new electricity plants (new build combined cycle gas at around £70-80/MWH) is surely in sight.” He adds that “it’s staggering to think that in not much more than five years, we could have turned a technology seen as prohibitively expensive into the lowest cost, utility-scale technology available.” Beyond the current incremental cost improvements, Thompson believes that the next big step in lower cost will be taken when a next generation of turbines will be built in the 2020s, with even larger capacities. He adds that “the amazing reductions in offshore wind costs present a major challenge to competing technologies, which have an entirely new set of goal posts to aim for.” Perhaps the biggest challenge for the industry now, he says, is “to effectively communicate this message to politicians and decision makers and ensure that having developed a low cost contribution to our low carbon energy needs, we now maximise its deployment.” And this does not have to be confined to the UK or Europe. “The ability to deliver utility-scale projects at such low costs should help the European offshore wind industry to open up new markets for offshore wind, particularly in the United States and Asia.” Check out our new 93-page EV report. Join us for an upcoming Cleantech Revolution Tour conference! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


News Article | May 16, 2017
Site: www.forbes.com

What are the long term effects of carbon capture technology? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. I would say that there are five or six obvious effects of carbon capture technology, most of them long term if you define long term as decades or centuries. Carbon capture and sequestration is highly ineffective and expensive. It captures a tiny fraction of CO2 emissions. All it really does is give fossil fuel-emitting companies and jurisdictions license to continue to operate. And given license, they do. Wind and solar generation are actually carbon-neutral technologies, and are actually cost effective technologies. Every MWH of wind or solar electricity eliminates the generation of a MWH of fossil fuel generation and its attendant CO2. Spending money on expensive and ineffective CCS instead of renewables is just backwards. Create more CO2 in the atmosphere Most of the CO2 which is sequestered is being used in enhanced oil recovery. That’s the process of pumping CO2 down into tapped out oil wells to liquefy sludge and drive it to the other end of the field so it can be pumped out. When the oil is pumped out, it’s burned to make more CO2. And massive oil fields where this is deployed are full of a wide variety of old oils wells and test bores, and there’s no value in sealing the holes once enhanced oil recovery is over. As a result, a bunch of the ‘sequestered’ CO2 is just going to leak back up. Net result: more CO2 in the atmosphere. Create more CO2 in the atmosphere part deux Carbon capture and sequestration sounds so nice, but there is a missing bit in the middle no one likes to talk about: distribution. You have to get CO2 from where it is captured to where it is sequestered, and the vast, vast majority of places where CO2 emissions occur are no where near sequestration sites. And CO2 is two to three times the mass of the fossil fuels which bond with atmospheric oxygen to create it, so it’s going to be very expensive and energy intensive to ship it. And energy intensive will mean fossil fuels for quite a while longer. More transportation fossil fuel use, more CO2 in the atmosphere. Some tiny test sequestration sites are in areas with minerals which bond with CO2 to make new carbonate minerals. Those minerals stay sequestered. It’s even more expensive than normal sequestration with fewer sites. Whoo. I’m as excited by that as I am by the potential for airborne wind energy. If fossil fuels continue to be burnt long past they time that they should be, if more CO2 is produced by distribution, if CO2 leaks from sequestration sites and if sequestered CO2 is replaced by newly created CO2, then climate change will increase more than it should. This is practically causative, which is one of the reasons I’m so disgusted by CCS. Between the people who continue to run fossil fuel thermal stations well past their sell-by date and the people who engineer and operate ineffective carbon capture plants, there’s a lot of money being made. This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Stanley Consultants announced today that Kate Harris has been elected president and CEO of the global consulting engineering firm. She steps into the position previously held by Gayle Roberts, who will become chairman of the board. Current chair, Gregs Thomopulos, who has been with the firm for over 50 years, will retire in June and become chair emeritus. “I am delighted to welcome Kate to our company,” said Thomopulos. “She brings a broad range of experience, especially in international operations which Stanley Consultants has practiced in for over 60 years. I have the utmost confidence in her ability to continue and improve upon our record of success.” Harris has 25 years of international experience in the construction, engineering and consulting industry. Most recently she provided board and executive advisory services following her global Commercial Officer role with MWH, a 7,000-employee strong engineering and construction management firm recently acquired by Stantec. At MWH, she established the firm’s first innovation practice as well as developing and executing a number of business transformation and performance improvement strategies, including leadership of MWH’s Pune-based design and support services hub and the development of global strategies and practices to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the firm’s 1,750 technical and design employees in 78 locations worldwide. “I was drawn to Stanley Consultants’ rich legacy and culture,” says Harris. “The firm has a long history of being sought out by clients with the most challenging projects and is highly regarded for its technical innovation and exemplary client service.” Harris has a broad range of experience that includes strategy development, risk management, building high performing teams, developing client relationships and profitably growing businesses including winning and executing large and complex programs. “Kate shares our core values and philosophies. She has a proven record of accomplishments, a strong business acumen and the aptitude to integrate into Stanley Consultants’ corporate culture,” says Roberts. “I’m eager to work with her in this next chapter of Stanley Consultants.” Stanley Consultants provides program management, planning, engineering, environmental and construction services worldwide. Recognized for its commitment to client service and a passion to make a difference, Stanley Consultants brings global knowledge, experience and capabilities to serve clients in the energy, water, transportation and Federal markets. Since 1913, Stanley Consultants has successfully completed more than 25,000 engagements in all 50 states, U.S. territories, and in 110 countries. For more information on Stanley Consultants, please visit http://www.stanleyconsultants.com.


News Article | May 24, 2017
Site: www.enr.com

Design firms continue to ride a strong wave of success in California. The 95 firms that participated in this year’s Top Design Firms survey reported $4.87 billion of combined revenue in California during 2016—a 14% increase from the previous year. In the three most recent surveys, combined revenue in the state has grown by 33%. Firms with practices in transportation and other infrastructure are particularly bullish on the market.  Don Sepulveda, deputy national market lead, rail and transit for West Coast operations at Michael Baker International, notes that several significant tax measures have passed to provide funding for transportation projects in the region. In Los Angeles, for example, passage of Measure M in November will provide $120 billion to advance the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s long-range transit plan for the next four decades. “The Western United States is riding on a transportation boom,” he says. Michael Baker saw annual revenue rise 24% in California—to $120.1 million in 2016 from $96.8 million in 2015. Transportation work accounts for 19% of the firm’s total revenue. Kip Field, Southern California area manager for HDR, says his firm is also optimistic about Measure M projects, which will leverage funds from a half-cent sales tax increase that takes effect on July 1. “Funds will be immediately allocated toward larger infrastructure projects, including Link [Union Station], regional rail projects such as the Crenshaw Line, Regional Connector, Purple Line Extension, bus rapid transit projects and developments that are widely supported by the local community such as the LA River Bike Path and Rail to River Trails projects.” HDR, which saw annual revenue rise 7% in California last year, is currently working on the Link Union Station project for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. WSP USA is banking heavily on rail work in the state. Last year, it broke ground on the $2-billion Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project in San Diego. And, WSP USA and partner Network Rail Consulting are responsible for program management, integration, delivery and operations and maintenance planning on the California High-Speed Rail Project, which is now under construction in the Central Valley. In Los Angeles, the firm is at work on the Regional Connector and the Purple Line Extension. Some firms are also eying significant opportunities in aviation. “We anticipate demand. The need to upgrade aging infrastructure will drive opportunities in our market sectors to continue over the next five to 10 years, especially in the aviation sector,” says Brent Kelley, principal at Corgan. Corgan, in association with Gensler, is leading design of the $1.6-billion Midfield Satellite Concourse at Los Angeles International Airport. The new 12-gate facility, which will serve as an addition to Tom Bradley International Terminal, broke ground on Feb. 27. Kimley-Horn, which is the lead civil engineering consultant on the LAX Midfield Satellite Concourse project, expects to see a steady stream of work as well. “We continue to be optimistic about the next several years ahead, based on the robust funding environment through recent local and state funding commitments to transportation and other areas of infrastructure within our areas of expertise,” says Jason Matson, Kimley-Horn’s California regional leader. Stantec has positioned itself to capitalize on a wide range of opportunities in the water sector. Last year, the firm acquired MWH, which helped boost its annual revenue by 62% to $340.3 million. “We see a continued interest and investment in water infrastructure throughout California,” says Alfonso Rodriguez, Stantec’s Pacific Region vice president. “Rains from the past year have transitioned many client discussions from conservation and efficiency to storage and flood planning. Stantec’s 2016 acquisition and consequential integration of MWH has been a good pairing with these marketplace trends, with the combined companies successfully winning project work.” Woodard & Curran also firmed up its position in the water sector through acquisition, adding RMC Water and Environment in late 2016. RMC had seven offices throughout California with expertise in integrated water resource management and potable reuse. Alyson Watson, municipal west business unit leader at Woodard & Curran, says the acquisition of RMC rounds out the firm’s water resources management portfolio. In the building sectors, some firms are also seeing big bumps in revenue. Bonnie Khang-Keating, Los Angeles office director for SmithGroupJJR, says that although some small to midsize offices are experiencing a slowdown in limited sectors, “the design and construction industry seems to be strong and resilient in Southern California.” SmithGroupJJR saw revenue jump to $82.06 million in 2016 from $59.29 million in 2015. “The economy will certainly slow down at some point, bringing with it the challenge of growth and recruitment in a competitive market,” she adds. Joyce Polhamus, San Francisco office director for SmithGroupJJR, says capital spending remains strong for both institutional and private developers in the Bay Area. “As new projects are completed in the city, we expect to see an uptick in office tenant improvement and retrofit projects,” she says. “Health care activity will likely remain steady as well, with a wave of backfill projects and continued growth in ambulatory, specialty care, urgent care and cancer centers.  The seismic upgrade deadline of 2030 continues to drive the need for replacement hospitals in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Central Valley.” Amy Williams, managing principal at HDR in Pasadena, also sees seismic work keeping the health care market steady for years to come. “The future of health care in America continues to be unsure,” she says. “Nonetheless, California Senate Bills 1953 and 90 are mandating facilities be compliant with state seismic requirements by 2020/2030. The level of national insecurity related to health care spending has caused a number of organizations to delay upgrades. At this point, time is the critical factor for compliance and a number of entities are moving forward with the necessary upgrades.”


News Article | May 24, 2017
Site: www.enr.com

Dam engineers and safety experts say the drama that unfolded in February at California’s Oroville dam, when trouble with the main and emergency spillways led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents, could be a good thing for dam safety in the U.S. “The Oroville event represents an opportunity,” says Martin McCann Jr., director of the National Performance of Dams Project and a civil engineering professor at Stanford University. “The dam didn’t fail. The spillway didn’t fail. No one got killed. So, let’s count our blessings and seize the opportunity.” An expert panel of engineers this fall will present a forensics analysis to pinpoint the likely causes of the spillway failures. The more pressing concern is the lack of money to upgrade the 81,051 smaller, state-regulated dams, say dam engineers and officials. In 2015, following a record rainfall, 51 of these smaller dams failed in South Carolina. Of the 90,000 dams in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ National Inventory of Dams, 58,000 are privately owned, and some, as in the state of Alabama, are not regulated at all. The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) estimates the cost exceeds $64 billion to rehabilitate the nation’s non-federal and federal dams. The combination of these factors—not just the threat of big dams such as Oroville—led the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to give dams a D grade in its latest report card. “We watch our federal dams really well,” says Dusty Myers, president of the ASDSO and chief of Mississippi’s dam program. “Our states are really stressed.” Dam engineering and regulation has come far since the 1970s, when a series of failures killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars in damage. Subsequent reviews showed that dam safety laws and regulations were inadequate. In response to those reviews, ASDSO was created in 1984. Oversight is “definitely stronger,” says Mark Ogden, a technical specialist at ASDSO who helped to write ASCE’s dam report card. “Some states didn’t have a program back then.” Since about 2010, ASDSO has put a new focus on learning lessons from previous dam failures. Along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the group has created damfailures.org to share information about past failures. They expect that the Oroville case will yield a wealth of new information. “You want to know the physical cause of the problem” but also what human factors may have contributed, says Mark Baker, chairman of ASDSO’s dam-failure committee. Even as improvements have been made, dams are posing an increasing risk because they are getting older—in the U.S., the average age is 56, and about 4,400 are more than 100 years old. Further, the dams were not built to today’s seismic standards, and real-life storms and new storm models show many dams are inadequate to handle heavy rainfall. Dam owners’ responsibility for public safety has expanded with the growing number of people building and living in the dam-failure flood path. In the national inventory, the number of dams considered “high hazard,” or exhibiting the potential for fatalities after a failure, has grown to 15,500 in 2017 from 10,213 in 2005. “It’s not because we are doing anything wrong,” says Bob Beduhn, director of dams and levees for HDR. “It’s that we are allowing people to live within the flood plain of the dam.” Beduhn adds that there’s a disconnect in the national flood insurance program, which doesn’t necessarily require flood insurance in dam flood plains. To tackle the ever-increasing number of dams that need work, federal agencies, utilities and a growing number of states are turning to a risk-based approach to analyze and address problems at the nation’s dams. “It would be impossible to rehabilitate all the dams at once,” says Roger Adams, chief of dam safety for Pennsylvania. By employing a risk-based approach to its 700 dams, the Corps of Engineers has avoided $7 billion of work, says Eric Halpin, deputy for dam and levee safety for the Corps. “We couldn’t afford not to do it,” he says. Major work is ongoing at several dams, including the Corps’ Isabella Dam in California, which was created in the 1950s in a remote area of the state, but now puts more than 300,000 people downstream in Bakersfield at risk. A risk analysis determined the dam needed seismic updates, had seepage issues and could be overtopped. Other federal agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the Oroville Dam, are currently incorporating risk-based practices. States and individual owners have been slower to adopt a risk-based approach because of costs and resistance from owners. The cost issue may be a red herring. Dan Wade, director of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s water improvement program, says the risk-based analysis doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Where a large dam might have a 100-page risk-management plan, a small dam may need a three- to five-page plan. “It needs to fit the project,” Wade says. “We need to get past the concerns about cost.” However, after the problems have been identified, the biggest problem of all—funding—comes next. “We can issue orders, but what happens if they can’t come up with the funding, especially on private dams? Those are the biggest struggles,” says Jon Garton, who manages the dam safety program in Iowa. Only about half the states have some type of low-interest loan program to help pay for rehabilitation. The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation bill, signed into law last year, established a $445-million fund to remediate high-hazard dams, but Congress has yet to appropriate any money for the fund. “The only way that work is going to uptick is if funding is provided some way,” says Craig Harris, western water division director for MWH, a unit of Stantec. That’s not to say that work isn’t occurring. Communities that use their dams for water and recreation, utilities and states are spending billions to upgrade and maintain their dams. “Many communities consider their dams forever after and spend a lot of money to make sure they are operated safely,” said Mike Manwaring, business development director for Stantec’s water and dam division For the past decade or more, new seismic modeling has driven much of the dam work. Even before Oroville, there was a great emphasis on spillway work. Most dams and spillways were built based on old weather data. Now, more recent information shows that dams don’t have adequate capacity for downpours or their spillways are undersized. While it may be impossible to build all dams to withstand the 1,000-year event that occurred in South Carolina in 2015, dams can be built to be more resilient, says Hermann Fritz, a Georgia Tech civil engineering professor who led the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance team that analyzed the South Carolina dam failures. For the most part, South Carolina provided a model for what is not being done in dam management, design and operations. For example, Fritz says, there were old, unknown materials that created seams and points of failure in dams. Turbines couldn’t be operated because power failed; gates had to be opened manually in the deluge; spillways weren’t designed properly; stop logs, meant to be removed in the event of a storm, had been cemented in. “It showed all of the challenges of operation of these smaller dams,” he said. In the end, the international team that has come together to analyze and learn the lessons from Oroville represents the path forward for national dam safety and the mind-set that supports it. Says James Demby, senior technical policy adviser for FEMA’s National Dam Safety Program, “Dam safety is really a shared responsibility.”


CrowdReviews.com Partnered with acm to Announce: Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA Seminar Successfully Launched Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA Seminar successfully launched with the support of the Irrigation and Drainage Authority. This event brought together key officials and decision makers from the Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the Irrigation & Drainage Authority, Arriyadh Development Authority, Riyadh Municipality, National Water Company, Ministry of Housing, Emaar, and MWH now part of Stantec. Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA featured exciting presentations among which include: “Cyber security issues facing water and drainage control systems” by Dr. Ayad Al Daiyji, from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture; “Climate change and extreme events modelling in arid regions” by Dr. Ghazi Al Rawas from Sultan Qaboos University – Oman; “Value engineering and intelligent use of water in the irrigation system” by Ahmed El Sherbieny from Zaid Al Hussain Group; and “Smart operation of water network” by Dr. Abdulrahman Alshehri from the National Water Company, in addition to a panel discussion and round table discussions. The response to this event was hugely positive as delegates and sponsors enjoyed a stellar line-up of speakers as well as the opportunity to network with the industry’s key decision makers. “A great place for networking and gaining knowledge,” said the Head of Water Department at SETS. “It is a very useful seminar, and I would recommend organising similar events in order to reach the target of 2030 vision,” stated a MEP Manager from Dar Al Riyadh. “ACM always conduct excellent conferences which tackle the latest engineering issues and their solutions,” said the Deputy Project Manager of Saud Consult. Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA Seminar was held with the participation of JDCO, Eco, Energis, Rowad Plastic, Roxtec, Birco, ADS, and Zamil Group. For more information about the conference, please visit Advanced Conferences & Meetings is a premium business-to-business conference company focused on the requirements of the MENA region. Its events are highly tailored networking and learning opportunities, bringing senior decision makers together and providing up-to-the-minute information on industry trends, government initiatives, technological advances and developments in regulation. As such, they act not only as extremely effective tools for gaining business advantage, but also as high level platforms for change in the industries they serve. Naples, FL, April 19, 2017 --( PR.com )-- Supported by the Saudi Irrigation and Drainage Authority, Advanced Conferences & Meetings has proudly launched Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA Seminar at The Rosh Rayhaan Hotel, Riyadh. This event addressed updates, strategies and technologies for optimising stormwater, drainage and sewage projects across Saudi Arabia.This event brought together key officials and decision makers from the Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the Irrigation & Drainage Authority, Arriyadh Development Authority, Riyadh Municipality, National Water Company, Ministry of Housing, Emaar, and MWH now part of Stantec.Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA featured exciting presentations among which include: “Cyber security issues facing water and drainage control systems” by Dr. Ayad Al Daiyji, from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture; “Climate change and extreme events modelling in arid regions” by Dr. Ghazi Al Rawas from Sultan Qaboos University – Oman; “Value engineering and intelligent use of water in the irrigation system” by Ahmed El Sherbieny from Zaid Al Hussain Group; and “Smart operation of water network” by Dr. Abdulrahman Alshehri from the National Water Company, in addition to a panel discussion and round table discussions.The response to this event was hugely positive as delegates and sponsors enjoyed a stellar line-up of speakers as well as the opportunity to network with the industry’s key decision makers. “A great place for networking and gaining knowledge,” said the Head of Water Department at SETS. “It is a very useful seminar, and I would recommend organising similar events in order to reach the target of 2030 vision,” stated a MEP Manager from Dar Al Riyadh. “ACM always conduct excellent conferences which tackle the latest engineering issues and their solutions,” said the Deputy Project Manager of Saud Consult.Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA Seminar was held with the participation of JDCO, Eco, Energis, Rowad Plastic, Roxtec, Birco, ADS, and Zamil Group.For more information about the conference, please visit www.drainageandstormwaterksa.com Advanced Conferences & Meetings is a premium business-to-business conference company focused on the requirements of the MENA region. Its events are highly tailored networking and learning opportunities, bringing senior decision makers together and providing up-to-the-minute information on industry trends, government initiatives, technological advances and developments in regulation. As such, they act not only as extremely effective tools for gaining business advantage, but also as high level platforms for change in the industries they serve. Click here to view the company profile of topseos.com Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from topseos.com


Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA Seminar Successfully Launched with the Support of the Irrigation and Drainage Authority This event addressed updates, strategies and technologies for optimising stormwater, drainage and sewage projects across Saudi Arabia. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 21, 2017 --( This event brought together key officials and decision makers from the Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the Irrigation & Drainage Authority, Arriyadh Development Authority, Riyadh Municipality, National Water Company, Ministry of Housing, Emaar, and MWH now part of Stantec. Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA featured exciting presentations among which include: “Cyber security issues facing water and drainage control systems” by Dr. Ayad Al Daiyji, from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, “Climate change and extreme events modelling in arid regions” by Dr. Ghazi Al Rawas from Sultan Qaboos University – Oman, “Value engineering and intelligent use of water in the irrigation system” by Ahmed El Sherbieny from Zaid Al Hussain Group, and “Smart operation of water network” by Dr. Abdulrahman Alshehri from the National Water Company, in addition to a panel discussion and round table discussions. The response to this event was hugely positive as delegates and sponsors enjoyed a stellar line-up of speakers as well as the opportunity to network with the industry’s key decision makers. “A great place for networking and gaining knowledge,” said the Head of Water Department at SETS. “It is a very useful seminar, and I would recommend organising similar events in order to reach the target of 2030 vision,” stated a MEP Manager from Dar Al Riyadh. “ACM always conduct excellent conferences which tackle the latest engineering issues and their solutions,” said the Deputy Project Manager of Saud Consult. Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA Seminar was held with the participation of JDCO, Eco, Energis, Rowad Plastic, Roxtec, Birco, ADS, and Zamil Group. For more information about the conference, please visit www.drainageandstormwaterksa.com Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 21, 2017 --( PR.com )-- Supported by the Saudi Irrigation and Drainage Authority, Advanced Conferences & Meetings has proudly launched Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA Seminar, at The Rosh Rayhaan Hotel, Riyadh. This event addressed updates, strategies and technologies for optimising stormwater, drainage and sewage projects across Saudi Arabia.This event brought together key officials and decision makers from the Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the Irrigation & Drainage Authority, Arriyadh Development Authority, Riyadh Municipality, National Water Company, Ministry of Housing, Emaar, and MWH now part of Stantec.Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA featured exciting presentations among which include: “Cyber security issues facing water and drainage control systems” by Dr. Ayad Al Daiyji, from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, “Climate change and extreme events modelling in arid regions” by Dr. Ghazi Al Rawas from Sultan Qaboos University – Oman, “Value engineering and intelligent use of water in the irrigation system” by Ahmed El Sherbieny from Zaid Al Hussain Group, and “Smart operation of water network” by Dr. Abdulrahman Alshehri from the National Water Company, in addition to a panel discussion and round table discussions.The response to this event was hugely positive as delegates and sponsors enjoyed a stellar line-up of speakers as well as the opportunity to network with the industry’s key decision makers. “A great place for networking and gaining knowledge,” said the Head of Water Department at SETS. “It is a very useful seminar, and I would recommend organising similar events in order to reach the target of 2030 vision,” stated a MEP Manager from Dar Al Riyadh. “ACM always conduct excellent conferences which tackle the latest engineering issues and their solutions,” said the Deputy Project Manager of Saud Consult.Future Drainage and Stormwater Networks KSA Seminar was held with the participation of JDCO, Eco, Energis, Rowad Plastic, Roxtec, Birco, ADS, and Zamil Group.For more information about the conference, please visit www.drainageandstormwaterksa.com


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

As governments are focusing increasingly on industrial growth strategies, offshore wind is becoming a double win for policymakers, says Ray Thompson, Head of Business Development at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. “Offshore wind helps them to achieve carbon targets and to create new jobs.” Thompson explains how the industry managed to bring costs down spectacularly and what is still in store: “Offshore wind is coming to represent a major challenge to competing technologies.” For Ray Thompson, nothing illustrates the progress of offshore wind better than the new Siemens blade manufacturing facility and project execution harbour in Hull in northern England, opened in December last year. “The facilities have already created 800 new jobs and the numbers on site will rise to over 1,000 when full production is reached.” For policymakers the new operations in ‘Green Port Hull’ in Northern England, where skilled manufacturing jobs are scarce, are welcome news. Thompson, who has been involved in the UK energy sector for 35 years and now manages public affairs for Siemens in London (“talking about wind is what I do for a living”), projects like the one in Hull provide the best guarantee for the future of offshore wind. Wholesale electricity prices in the UK are so low at the moment, he points out, that “there is no business case for any plants, so government will always have to intervene to decide what will be in the mix. And policymakers are increasingly focused on the economic benefits of energy production, in addition to concerns over security of supply, cost and climate.” What this means for offshore wind is “that as long as we are able to offer low costs, there is every reason for them to support us”, says Thompson. And low cost is certainly what the industry is able to offer. “We have seen truly dramatic reductions in our costs”, says Thompson. “In 2012, the UK Government set a target for the industry to achieve a levelised cost of £100/MWh for projects reaching financial close in 2020. Incredibly, the industry has managed to achieve this four years ahead of target, with the projects reaching financial close in 2016 doing so at £97/MWh.” He notes that “in the UK the last auction for support for offshore wind farms again delivered significant cost reductions, with East Anglia and the Neart na Gaoithe projects winning the auctions at much lower prices than previous wind farms. Some European projects recently won auctions at even lower prices, a Danish near shore project successfully won an auction with a bid of less than €50/MWH and while there are some differences to UK projects – developers in Denmark don’t pay development or grid costs – it still indicates fantastic progress in the right direction.” Probably the most important factor in bringing costs down has been the increase in the size of the turbines. “When we installed the London Array project in 2012 – still the largest offshore wind project in the world – it consisted of 175 turbines each generating 3.6MW. For the same size project today we’d be more likely to plan turbines of 7 or 8MW so we could build the same project with around 90 turbines. Installing 90 foundations, 90 cables and the installation activities involved massively reduces the cost of the project compared to 175.” But it’s not just about big turbines, he adds. “We are driving down costs across every part of the business, from design to installation, operation and maintenance. For example, we now have highly specialised installation vessels, designed specifically from the outset for our task. We have better, more experienced crew on the vessel and highly automated lifting kit to ensure safe operations offshore in much higher wind speeds than we ever could before.” “Our aim offshore is to install the turbine components, connect, test and commission the turbine within 24 hours of the vessel being on station at the installation location. Better equipment skills and planning means we are doing in hours what previously took days to achieve.” The new vessels are “part of the industrialisation of the industry which has enabled us to drive down cost”, says Thompson. “We’ve also seen investment from other port operators in facilities across the UK providing us the large marshalling sites we need to safely and effectively execute our offshore projects.” On the operations and maintenance side, the story is the same. “Larger turbines mean fewer components offshore and the change of a design philosophy to direct drive turbines means each turbine has half the number of moving parts compared to previous generations. We’re also better at monitoring and understanding the performance of turbines so our maintenance activities are getting smarter and we’re visiting each turbine less often; a big driver of costs.” On the denominator side of the cost equation is the higher energy production that can now be achieved. Thompson: “Again, all aspects are showing progress. The latest turbines have huge rotor diameters, advanced aerodynamics and more reliable technologies. This ensures that the maximum possible energy production is achieved and, by working with our customers, we are driving up availability and output from the turbines.” The capacity factor of the latest offshore wind farms is already at 50%, he adds. So how far could the development of offshore wind go? How much could it contribute, for example, to UK electricity supply? Thompson: “Wind energy currently supplies 11% of UK electricity demand. Half of that is offshore wind. We have 5 GW of offshore wind installed. Another 30 GW has already been planned or identified. And we hope to do more after that. So offshore wind could easily provide 20-30% of UK electricity supply in future.” He is convinced that this will not create any problems for the power system. “Wind power is variable, but not unpredictable. The people who manage the grid can handle it. Of course it would be crazy to have a system designed entirely around wind. It has to be part of a balanced energy mix. In the UK that means mostly with gas-fired power stations. Coal is rapidly being phased out altogether.” Offshore wind has in fact become so reliable that pension funds and other risk-averse institutional investors are eager to invest in projects, says Thompson. “They are not only willing to invest in completed parks, they are even willing to participate in construction stage investments. This reflects the move of the industry from a new sector to one which is seen as a mature and safe investment. The cost of capital for wind farm investment has fallen dramatically with investors and banks accepting lower returns for the lower levels of risk involved. As the industry has matured so have our customers, and we now have a core of key customers who are experienced in offshore, and this increased sophistication further drives down cost.” How far does Thompson think that cost reductions can still go? “We will shortly get another measure of our progress in the UK as we have the next auction round running across the summer”, he says. “Analysts and our own internal evaluations suggest that the developers will compete aggressively for the support available. We are likely to see bids beneath the £92.50 offered by the Government to the first of the nuclear plants. If the forecasts turn out to be correct, then the point at which offshore wind can compete with the lowest cost of new electricity plants (new build combined cycle gas at around £70-80/MWH) is surely in sight.” He adds that “it’s staggering to think that in not much more than five years, we could have turned a technology seen as prohibitively expensive into the lowest cost, utility-scale technology available.” Beyond the current incremental cost improvements, Thompson believes that the next big step in lower cost will be taken when a next generation of turbines will be built in the 2020s, with even larger capacities. He adds that “the amazing reductions in offshore wind costs present a major challenge to competing technologies, which have an entirely new set of goal posts to aim for.” Perhaps the biggest challenge for the industry now, he says, is “to effectively communicate this message to politicians and decision makers and ensure that having developed a low cost contribution to our low carbon energy needs, we now maximise its deployment.” And this does not have to be confined to the UK or Europe. “The ability to deliver utility-scale projects at such low costs should help the European offshore wind industry to open up new markets for offshore wind, particularly in the United States and Asia.”

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