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IKEA Enters US Wind Market With Largest Renewables Investment to Date

IKEA is at it again. In an effort to achieve its goal of producing more renewable energy than it consumes by 2020, the retail giant announced yesterday that it has purchased the 98-MW Hoopeston wind farm in Illinois. This purchase marks its first wind project investment in the U.S. and largest renewables investment globally. IKEA will own the wind farm and U.S.-based developer Apex Clean Energy will manage the project.

The Hoopseston project, which will be fully operational in early 2015, is expected to produce 380 GWh each year, according to IKEA, which is the equivalent of 130 percent of the energy used by all U.S. IKEA stores or 10 percent of its global operations.

IKEA chief sustainability office Steve Howard explained that the wind farm purchase would help further the company’s commitment to renewables and also give back to the community.

"The U.S. has amazing wind and sun resources that will never run out. [This investment] is great for jobs, great for energy security, and great for our business,” Howard said in a statement. “Importantly, it's great for the future of our climate. 

Further displaying its climate commitment, IKEA U.S. CFO Rob Olsen represented the company at the annual meeting for the Bi-Cameral Task Force on Climate Change this week. Olsen was joined by fellow company representatives that signed the Climate Declaration, which calls for government action to address climate change globally. More than 700 businesses have signed the declaration not only to shine a light on the effects of climate change, but because transitioning to renewable energy and undergoing energy efficiency initiatives is good for business. Watch a video of the task force briefing below.

"We are committed to renewable energy and to running our business in a way that minimizes our carbon emissions, not only because of the environmental impact, but also because it makes good financial sense," said Olson. "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."

IKEA has heavily invested in renewable energy development. Its current portfolio includes 94 MW of solar and 345 MW of wind globally. In fact, 90 percent of U.S.-based stories use solar energy, which means there is a nine-in-ten chance that your local IKEA has solar on its roof. It installed a geothermal heating and cooling system in its Centennial, Colorado store, and plans to install a similar system at its new Kansas City store. IKEA’s non-profit arm, IKEA Foundation, is also active in renewables — it recently completed a campaign that promised 1 euro towards solar lighting for refugee camps with each LED bulb purchased in its stores. 

In 2013, IKEA produced 37 percent of its global energy needs from renewables and has $2 billion set aside to further invest in wind and solar energy prospects through 2015.

Lead image: JuliusKielaitis via Shutterstock

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