IKEA US announced last week that it is making its first US wind farm investment with the purchase of Hoopeston Wind in Hoopeston, Illinois. The 98-megawatt wind farm is the largest single IKEA Group renewable energy investment globally to date and will make a significant contribution to the company’s goal to generate as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes by 2020. The project is currently being constructed by Apex Clean Energy and is expected to be fully operational by the first half of 2015.
"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," says Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA Group.
The announcement was made by Rob Olson, Chief Financial Officer of IKEA US, at a business executive briefing by Climate Declaration signatories for members of the Bi-Cameral Task Force on Climate Change.
“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,” Olson said. “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.”
The Hoopeston Wind project will install 49 Vestas V100-2.0 MW wind turbines near Hoopeston in Vermilion County, Illinois, approximately 110 miles south of Chicago. The wind farm is expected to generate up to 380 GWh of renewable energy each year, which is equivalent to any of the following, calculated annually:
- The electricity needs of 34,000 average American households
- A reduction in CO2 emissions equal to taking 55,000 cars off the road
- 165 percent of the electricity consumed by IKEA’s US operations (38 stores, five distribution centers, two service centers and one factory)
- 130 percent of the total energy (electricity + heat) consumed by IKEA US
- 18 percent of the electricity used by IKEA Group worldwide
- 10 percent of the total energy used by IKEA Group worldwide
- The energy consumed by 70 IKEA stores
Hoopeston Wind will be fully owned by the IKEA Group and managed by US-based wind and solar developer Apex Clean Energy.
“Wind energy has been the fastest growing source of new energy generation in the US, and the potential is only beginning to be tapped,” said Apex president Mark Goodwin. “This project with IKEA US is an opportunity for Apex to work with a new type of investor and partner to expand wind energy development in this country.”
Hoopeston Wind is the most recent in a series of renewable energy investments by IKEA, which has now committed to own 206 wind turbines worldwide. This includes investments in wind farms in eight other countries to date: Canada, where it is now the largest retail wind energy investor; along with Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden and the UK.
IKEA has also installed 550,000 solar panels on its buildings in nine countries. In the US, these investments include solar installations completed on 90 percent of IKEA locations across 20 states, with a total of 165,000 solar panels providing 38-MW installed capacity. In addition, IKEA integrated a geothermal component into the heating and cooling system of the IKEA store in Centennial, CO, with another geothermal project underway as part of a new Kansas City-area store slated to open in Fall 2014.
In 2013, the IKEA Group produced 1,425 GWh of energy from renewable sources, including wind and solar, equivalent to 37 percent of the company’s total energy needs. As part of its People & Planet Positive sustainability strategy, the company has allocated $2 billion to invest in wind and solar until 2015 to get closer to its goal of producing enough renewable energy to match its total energy consumption by 2020. The IKEA Group is also leading in making its operations more energy-efficient, and since 2010 has saved nearly $55 million through energy-efficiency efforts in IKEA stores and warehouses.