By Linda St.Cyr
IKEA announced that it will be making a renewable energy investment in the United States with the purchase of Hoopeston Wind in Hoopeston, Illinois. The Hoopeston Wind Project is the largest single IKEA Group renewable energy investment to date. The company’s goal is to generate as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes by 2020.
IKEA plans to do get the wind farm up and running by working with Apex Clean Energy, a solar developer currently constructing the 98- megawatt Hoopeston Wind Project. The wind farm is expected to be fully operational by the first half of 2015.
IKEA has made commitments to grow in the United States, reduce their carbon footprints, and be a leader in mitigating climate change and boosting clean energy sources. The Illinois wind farm will be home to 49 wind turbines. The wind farm is expected to generate the equivalent of 34,000 average American households electricity needs.
“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,” said Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group in a press release.
The wind farm project in Illinois will be bigger than any of the wind farms IKEA has previously built. The Swedish company has built wind farms sin eight other countries including Canada and Germany. The company also produces renewable energy with 550,000 solar panels owned globally through the production of geothermal energy.
IKEA does not see the wind farm as a short-term investment. The company sees it as a long-term investment that makes economic sense and shows that the company cares about the environment. IKEA is one of the few companies that invests in its own energy projects.
Andrew Winston, founder of sustainability consultancy Winston Eco-Strategies and author of “The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World,” told the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, “Ikea is on the vanguard of moving the business from fossil fuel [dependence].”
“It’s good business. In a world that’s really volatile and very unpredictable, renewable energy is very predictable. There’s the hedge against fuel prices. It does lower the costs and gives them resilience. There’s lots of value. It isn’t altruistic. Nobody is moving as fast as they are,” said Winston.
IKEA plans to open three new stores in the United States in 2014 and 2015. It also has plans to expand its manufacturing partnership with a key US supplier. The Hoopeston Wind Project is expected to be operational by 2015.
Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.