Ireland will miss international targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 unless "significant efforts" are made in the coming years.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that a target to reduce emissions by 20pc by 2020 will be missed, despite cuts in emissions during the recession.
Increasing the usage of renewable energy is among a number of key measures needed to transform Ireland to a low-carbon economy.
The EPA said that Ireland's EU target was to reduce emissions from agriculture, transport, the built environment, waste and non-energy-intensive industry by 20pc by 2020. This compares with emissions generated in 2005.
However, they are expected to be just 14pc below 2005 levels under current projections. The only way to meet the target is to "over-achieve" between 2013 and 2017, but this requires "ambitious policies" to be implemented in full, including reducing energy consumption and increasing the share of renewable fuels in transport and heating.
The warning comes as a new report from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland says that renewable energy usage rose 10pc last year. It also says that as the economy grew, the amount of energy used fell, which was a positive sign.
Wind accounted for 18pc of electricity generated, and was the second-most significant source of power after natural gas.
Total renewable electricity share now contributes nearly as much as coal and peat combined, which has the effect of lowering emissions from power generation.