Ikea breezes into US renewables market with wind farm purchase

Ikea has purchased a 98 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Illinois, its largest single green energy investment to date, as the company continues its push to be energy independent by the end of the decade.

The Hoopeston wind farm, under construction 110 miles south of Chicago, is set to be fully operational by the first half of 2015 and marks the company's first wind investment in the U.S.

Once complete, it is expected to produce up to 380 GWh of electricity each year, equivalent to 165 percent of the total electricity consumed by Ikea's 38 U.S. stores, five distribution centres, two services centers and one factory — and 18 percent of the electricity used by the group worldwide.

The wind farm is the latest in a $2 billion program of clean energy investments by the Ikea Group, which last year produced 1,425 GWh of power from renewable sources to meet 37 percent of its energy demand.

The company now owns 206 wind turbines across eight countries, including Canada, where Ikea is the largest retail wind energy investor, as well as Sweden, the U.K., Ireland, Denmark and Germany.

Ikea Group also has installed 550,000 solar panels on buildings in nine countries, including 90 percent of Ikea's U.S. locations, where a total of 165,000 solar panels provide 38 MW installed capacity across 20 states. And, since 2010, Ikea has saved nearly $55 million through energy efficiency efforts in Ikea stores and warehouses.

"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 Rob Olson, chief financial officer of Ikea U.S. "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."

This article originally appeared at Business Green. Image by JuliusKielaitis via Shutterstock.