Denmark is a leader in implementing well-designed policies for renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change, says the International Energy Agency (IEA).

In a review of Denmark’s national energy policies, the IEA has praised the country for setting ambitious targets such as sourcing half of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2050, but warns of the challenges that it will face in trying to attain such targets.

“The IEA commends Denmark and its people for the scope of their vision and their many successes in adopting sustainable energy policies,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven as she presented the review. “Even with Denmark’s exemplary record, however, challenges remain and there is room for further enhancement if Denmark is to remain at the top of the class.”

The report was released in mid-February and comes during Denmark’s tenure of the EU Presidency as key policies surrounding energy efficiency and the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are being debated.

The IEA says that Denmark is well placed to reach its renewable energy target but believes that integrating large volumes of variable electricity supply will require a large reconfiguration of the electricity network, and that the phase-out of coal-fired electricity generating capacity must be managed “with care”.

“Electricity security must not be compromised in the medium term,” said Van der Hoeven, who also warned that investment in training and skills must continue in order for Denmark to maintain its place at the forefront of renewable energy policy development.