On 13 November, the European Parliament (EP) approved new targets for renewables, energy efficiency and second-generation biofuels when it voted to confirm a provisional agreement on the revised Renewable Energy Directive (REDII).

Members of the parliament voted 495 to 68 in favour of the EU targeting renewables to account for 32% of its energy usage by 2030 while also voting 434 to 104 to approve a targeted 32.5% increase in energy efficiency by 2030. Each member state will also be required to present a 10-year national energy and climate plan with targets, policies and measures by the end of 2019 and every 10 years after.

The EP said these targets would be reviewed in 2023 but can only be raised, not lowered.

Second-generation biofuels must provide at least 14% of transportation fuel by 2030. From 2019 until 2030, first-generation biofuels will be steadily phased out because they are considered to have a high risk for indirect land use change.

The new rules will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and will be enforced 20 days after publication to be directly applied to all member states.

The European renewable ethanol association, ePURE, said the EP’s adoption of REDII provided a more effective approach to decarbonising transport but warned that it would be up to member states to put in efforts to make it a reality.

ePURE said REDII confirmed the importance of sustainably-produced crop-based biofuels in achieving climate goals.

“Member states and the European Parliament have agreed that sustainable crop-based biofuels like EU ethanol have an important role to play in decarbonisation,” said Emmanuel Desplechin, secretary-general of ePURE. “The new long-term strategy looking to 2050 should reinforce this by acknowledging the importance of both first- and second-generation ethanol. That would send a real signal from Brussels to member states that the EU is serious about reducing emissions from transport.”