Not content with photovoltaic solar on 90% of its American rooftops, IKEA has just invested in a 380-gigawatt-hour wind farm big enough to power every one of its stores in the United States—and then some.
The Swedish home goods retailer has picked up a $2 billion project near Hoopeston in Vermilion County, Illinois, approximately 110 miles south of Chicago. From Renewable Energy World:
The 98 MW Hoopeston Wind Project is the largest single IKEA renewable energy investment globally to date and will make a significant contribution to the company’s goal to generate as much renewable energy by 2020 as it currently consumes in total.
By generating 1,425 GWh of energy from renewable sources in 2013, the company had already met the equivalent of 37% of its total energy needs.
Rob Olson, chief financial officer of IKEA US, told the Chicago Tribune:
It’s about taking care of the environment and living within our means….. We invest in our own renewable energy sources so that we can control our exposure to fluctuating electricity costs and continue providing great value to our customers.
Apex Clean Energy, a wind developer based in Virginia, is building the IKEA farm with 49 Vestas V100-2.0MW wind turbines. It’s expected to start up early next year. Some more stats on what it will provide:
- The electricity needs of 34,000 average American households
- A reduction in CO2 emissions equal to taking 55,000 cars off the road
- 165% of the electricity consumed by IKEA US (38 stores, five distribution centers, two service centers and one factory)
- 130% of the total energy (electricity + heat) consumed by IKEA US
- 18% of the electricity used by IKEA Group worldwide
- 10% of the total energy used by IKEA Group worldwide
This American foray into wind power is not IKEA’s only investment in wind farms. Eight other countries have IKEA wind facilities: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In Canada, IKEA is now the largest retail wind energy investor.
And wind has begun to power an increasing number of impressive retail and corporate installations, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Walmart may have been the first, when it started buying power from a Texas wind farm in 2008. Tech corporations Google, Microsoft, and Facebook are also betting on wind.
“These are companies that often have corporate sustainability or carbon reduction targets and they’re putting their money where their mouth is,” said Emily Williams, senior policy analyst￼ at AWEA. “Making these huge multi-million dollar investments, they’re showing to their shareholders but also to the customers who frequent these businesses [and] use their products that they’re living up to their corporate responsibility.”