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IKEA makes biggest ever renewable energy investment

11 April 2014
IKEA makes biggest ever renewable energy investment

NEW YORK: IKEA has announced it will invest in a 98 megawatt (MW) wind farm near Chicago in the US, the single largest renewable energy investment the furniture-giant has ever made.

The Hooperston Wind Project, which will consist of 49 Vestas V100-2.0 MW wind turbines, is IKEA’s first investment in US wind energy despite owning 206 wind turbines globally.

IKEA anticipates that generating capacity for Hooperston Wind will stand at 380 GWh of renewable energy each year, which is enough power to meet the electricity needs of 34,000 American households.

The estimated carbon saving from the switch to wind energy is the equivalent to taking 55,000 cars off the road.

Apex Clean Energy are on board as the construction partner for the initiative which is expected to be fully operational in early 2015.

This investment will be of crucial importance to the expansion of the Scandinavian brand in the US. The massive wind farm offers a dependable electricity supply for US operations and annually will generate 165% of the electricity consumed by IKEA US.

Rob Olson, Chief Financial Officer of IKEA US was keen to emphasize the financial logic to such a large scale investment: “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.”

Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group, added: "The US has amazing wind and sun resources that will never run out. We are delighted to make this investment – it is great for jobs, great for energy security, and great for our business. Importantly, it’s great for the future of our climate.”

The corporate leader has set a target of generating as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes by 2020. Last year, IKEA produced 1,425 GWh of energy from renewable sources equivalent to 37% of the company’s total energy needs.

In addition to undertaking a full scale renewable energy transition, the Scandinavian business has demonstrated commitment to greater energy efficiency which to date has yielded savings of nearly US$55million.

Ben Ferrari, Director of Partnerships at The Climate Group, reacted to yesterday’s announcement. “It comes as no surprise that IKEA is investing in US wind energy. Wind energy has rapidly expanded and is now the fastest growing renewable energy sector in the US. As a reliable and cost effective form of energy it will contribute significantly to the organization’s overall power needs. Having access to a stable and sustainable energy source guarantees control over electricity costs and ensures that IKEA can continue to be a world leader in an increasingly competitive business environment.”

Related news:

Largest wind farm in Southern Hemisphere gets approval to be built in South Australia

Global wind power capacity grew 12.4% in 2013, led by China and Canada

IKEA: "Business needs climate change policy leaders"

By Alana Ryan

Image credit: Wind Turbine by Lamoix/Flickr

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