Home furnishings retailer IKEA has announced its first U.S. wind farm investment with the purchase of the Hoopeston Wind project in Hoopeston, Ill. The 98 MW project is IKEA's largest single renewable energy investment globally to date, and Hoopeston represents the company's second North American wind project: Last year, the retailer entered a deal with Mainstream Renewable Power for a 46 MW wind farm in Alberta.
IKEA says the U.S. project will help make a significant contribution to its goal to generate as much renewable energy as the total electricity the company consumes globally by 2020.
‘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,’ says Rob Olson, chief financial officer of IKEA US. "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 expects Hoopeston Wind to generate up to 380 GWh of renewable energy each year, which is equivalent to 165% of the electricity consumed annually by IKEA US (38 stores, five distribution centers, two service centers and one factory).
Apex Clean Energy is currently constructing the wind farm, which will feature 49 Vestas V100-2.0 MW turbines and is slated for completion by the first half of 2015. IKEA will fully own the project, and Apex will manage the wind farm.
"Wind energy has been the fastest-growing source of new energy generation in the U.S., and the potential is only beginning to be tapped," says 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."
Earlier this year, an IKEA representative spoke with NAW about the company's global renewables push. That article is available here.