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EU bank to finance electric, gas-powered bus networks in Spain

London — The European Investment Bank is set to finance the modernization of bus fleets in Spain to replace diesel-powered vehicles with electric and compressed natural gas models, the lender said Thursday.

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The bank will provide Eur27.5 million ($30.6 million) to fund 32 electric and 141 compressed natural gas buses in Spanish cities.

The bank's latest funding project highlights a growing shift toward cleaner vehicles in Europe, driven by both top-down EU regulation of transport emissions and a strategic shift to cleaner investment by Europe's main lending institution.

"Supporting sustainable public transport that cuts polluting emissions is among the EIB's key priorities," said EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro in a statement Thursday.

"As the EU climate bank, we are determined to dedicate more resources to supporting investments promoting climate action while also generating economic growth and jobs," she said.

The project will provide finance to Spanish urban transport network operator, Grupo Ruiz, to replace diesel buses in cities including Badajoz, Madrid, Murcia, Salamanca, Toledo and the island of Majorca.

The company's fleet has 40% CNG-powered vehicles and its latest purchases include electric models, it said.

The project is the latest example of a strategic shift toward clean investment by the EIB.

In November 2019, the EIB board of directors approved new climate objectives and a new energy lending policy which includes gradually increasing the bank's funding for climate and environmental objectives up to 50% by 2025.

The bank's goal is to ensure that it mobilizes at least Eur1 trillion by 2030 to promote investments to help meet those climate objectives. The EIB will also cease financing for fossil fuel-based projects from late 2021, it said.

--Frank Watson, frank.watson@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter, jonathan.carter@spglobal.com