The EU needs to advance its plans for renewable energy targets for 2030 soon, but only as part of a wider climate package, a member of energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger’s cabinet said yesterday (16 October).

While no conclusion had been drawn on whether new renewables targets should be binding, “the Commissioner is quite open to this,” Jasmin Battista told a Brussels conference to launch a new report by the consultants, Althesys.  

“But he didn’t want to come with an opinion now because we can’t do that and have in one year or two a climate target imposed on top of it,” she added. “These two things have to go together.”

Twenty percent improvements on Europe’s emissions reductions, renewables penetration, and energy efficiency record were all part of the EU’s last climate and energy package in 2009.

But officials in the EU’s climate department are pessimistic about the current chances of persuading member states to agree to similar commitments at a time of recession.

Currently only Denmark and the Netherlands are thought to favour such a move.

Speaking at a Eurelectric conference in Brussels earlier this month, the EU’s top climate civil servant, Jos Delbeke, said that  a full climate and energy package would not be ready until 2015 0r 2016.

Despite this, a communications on renewables targets for 2030 is likely within the lifetime of the current European Parliament, and Oettinger has himself called for the same in the past.

Launching the EU’s energy roadmap for 2050 in December 2011, the energy Commissioner said that he wanted “an interesting discussion on binding targets for renewables by 2030 [which] should begin now and lead to a decision in two years' time."

Battista said that a lack of progress in international climate talks did not necessarily need to prevent the announcement of new targets.

Because the 2020 targets had proved so successful, “no action is no real option because we would simply go back on the things we have achieved so far,” she added.

An orientation debate on the subject is due in the European Council next month.