The International Energy Agency has praised Ireland for maintaining its ambitious energy targets despite suffering severe economic turmoil.

But the IEA has also warned against complacency and stated that Ireland must invest even more in renewable technologies, expand grid integration and improve energy efficiency.

IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said: “At a time when many governments are shying away from their commitments to clean energy, Ireland has courageously resisted the temptation to scale back its own.”

Speaking in Dublin at the launch of a new study into Ireland’s energy policies, she added: “A lot has been achieved, yet there is more to do. Now is not the time for complacency.”

Ireland plans to produce 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, one of the highest targets in the world.

The IEA report also notes that despite Ireland’s recent economic downturn, the country has become a “world leader for Smart Grid deployment, a key means to reaching ambitious targets in the deployment of clean generation and end-use technologies”.