Originally published on Climate Progress.
By Kiley Kroh
Continuing its impressive commitment to being 100 percent carbon neutral by 2020, Swedish retailer IKEA announced the purchase of a 46-megawatt wind farm in Alberta, Canada. The 20-turbine farm is expected to generate 161 gigawatt-hours of power each year, or more than double the total energy consumption of IKEA Canada. The output is equivalent to the consumption of 32 IKEA stores or the average power consumption of 13,500 Canadian homes, the company said.
Globally, IKEA has committed to 157 wind turbines and has installed around 550,000 solar panels on its buildings, and in fiscal year 2013, IKEA produced enough renewable energy to match 37 percent of its consumption.
The company’s investments in renewable energy are a “win-win-win,” said Kerri Molinaro, president of IKEA Canada. “We are able to support the transition to a low carbon future, reduce our energy and operating costs, and pass those benefits on to our customers by continuing to offer high quality home furnishings at low prices.”
With this latest purchase, IKEA becomes the largest retail wind energy investor in Canada. Alberta, perhaps better known for its increasing production of tar sands and accompanying spills, has 5,000 megawatts of easily accessible wind energy, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association. But “the structure of the province’s current competitive electricity market makes it very difficult for new wind farms to be financeable and to secure the revenues needed to be economically viable,” the association said.
In addition to the Alberta wind farm, last week IKEA announced it would be installing South Florida’s largest solar array — 4,620 panels on its Miami store. The project is the company’s fourth in Florida and makes it the state’s largest non-utility solar owner. According to IKEA, the massive solar project will produce the amount of electricity equivalent to that used by 169 homes cut the equivalent of 1,227 tons of carbon dioxide emissions yearly, about the amount of 256 cars.
As far as harnessing the power of the sun is concerned, the retail giant has no intention of stopping any time soon. The company is working to install solar panels on 90 percent of its U.S. stores.
And IKEA doesn’t want to keep all of the clean energy ownership to itself. Last month the company announced it would begin selling solar panels in all of its UK stores. Despite the fact that no other retailers in the country stock solar panels on their shelves, U.S. customers will have to wait to pick up flat-packed solar panels with their bookshelves and home goods.
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