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EGEB: As oil giant Aramco gears up for its IPO, the EU stops funding fossil fuels, more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • The European Union will stop funding fossil fuels by the end of 2021.
  • Oil giant Aramco gears up for its initial public offering.
  • The first-ever hydrogen-powered train is coming to the US.
  • Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette had his first US Senate energy secretary hearing yesterday.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

EU stops funding fossil fuels

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s financing department, will cease funding for nearly all fossil-fuel projects by the end of 2021.

EU finance ministers last week unanimously backed the phasing out of fossil-fuel project funding in order to help slow the climate crisis. Last year, for example, to demonstrate scale, the EIB funded €2 billion of fossil-fuel projects.

The BBC reports:

Under the new policy, energy projects applying for EIB funding will need to show they can produce one kilowatt hour of energy while emitting less than 250 grams of carbon dioxide, a move which excludes traditional gas-burning power plants.

Gas projects are still possible, but would have to be based on what the bank called “new technologies” such as carbon capture and storage, combining heat and power generation, or mixing in renewable gases with the fossil natural gas.

Andrew McDowell, the EIB’s vice president responsible for energy, said: “This is an important first step — this is not the last step.”

Aramco to begin its IPO

Saudi oil giant Aramco is the world’s most profitable company. On November 17, The Saudi government-owned company will begin its initial public offering (IPO), which closes on December 5. The company will price its shares on the last day of its offer period, and trading on the Saudi stock exchange is expected to start in mid-December.

Aramco’s IPO is part of an initiative by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to improve the country’s economy, which is heavily reliant on oil. Aramco is responsible for 10% of the world’s oil production.

While it’s expected to perform well, it’s not a guaranteed slam dunk. Prince Mohammed priced Aramco at $2 trillion, but bankers have estimated it to be valued closer to $1.5 trillion. The global push to reduce emissions could impact Aramco’s IPO (and of course, geopolitical upheaval in the region isn’t helping, either). As the Atlantic Council’s senior fellow Ariel Cohen explains on Forbes:

Amid growing concern over climate change, there has been an overall trend by investors to diversify away from fossil fuels and shift investment to clean energy sources. Earlier this year, the world’s largest sovereign investor, the Norwegian oil fund, announced it would move away from fossil fuels — removing roughly $7.5 billion of oil and gas companies whose business operations focus on exploration and production.

And of course, there’s that EIB news above. So we’ll see, Aramco. We’ll see.

First hydrogen train in the US

The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) in California has awarded a contract to Swiss manufacturer Stadler to supply the US’s first hydrogen-powered train. There is an option to supply four more trains in the future. The train will be introduced in 2024.

According to the Railway Gazette:

The Flirt H2 unit will have two cars with a total of 108 seats and ‘generous’ standing room, plus a central power module holding the fuel cells and the hydrogen tanks. It will have a maximum speed of 79 mile/h (127 km/h), the federal limit above which additional signaling systems are required.

It is to be deployed on the Redlands Passenger Rail Project, a 14.5 km (9 mile) passenger service which is being developed on a former Santa Fe freight railway alignment between the University of Redlands and the Metrolink commuter rail station in San Bernardino.

US Senate hearing for new energy secretary

US Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette had his first Senate hearing for the post of secretary of energy yesterday. He was tapped by Trump to replace outgoing Rick Perry. Brouillette previously worked for Ford as a VP of their policy team.

Resistance is not expected to his appointment from either political party, as he is apparently someone who can work across the aisle.

When it comes to his approach to energy, Brouillette is known as an “all-of-the-above” guy. While he has actively supported green energy such as solar, he still backs fossil fuels.

As my colleague, Jameson Dow wrote:

We can hope that the situation will improve under Brouillette, and that he will take a more steady hand in guiding this country’s energy policy toward the obvious green-energy direction it is and should be going in, and away from dirty, deadly, expensive fossil fuels.

Photo: Aramco

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.