Ikea buys its first U.S. wind farm

The world's largest home furnishings company continues to invest in wind and solar in pursuit of its 2020 goal.

Ikea has purchased a 98 megawatt wind farm in Illinois—the latest renewable energy investment in the company's pursuit of energy independence by 2020.

This is Ikea's first wind farm investment in the U.S., and its 206th worldwide. The wind farm, located in Hoopeston, Ill., is expected to be operational in the first half of 2015 and will generate up to 380 gigawatt hours of renewable energy per year—enough to power 70 Ikea stores. The Hoopeston wind farm will be built by Apex Clean Energy and will use Vestas turbines.

The U.S. wind farm acquisition is Ikea's latest in a string of renewable energy investments. The world's largest home furnishings company has wind farms in eight other countries including Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Ikea has also installed 550,000 solar panels on its buildings in nine countries, including 90 percent of its locations in the U.S., the company says

In October 2012, Ikea Group announced plans to double its investment in solar and wind installations  as part of its larger ambition to become energy independent by 2020. Several months later, the company said it would likely double its investment in renewable energy to $4 billion before the end of the decade. To date, the company has allocated $2 billion until 2015.

Ikea's global operations require considerable energy. Any efforts to improve efficiency and shift more towards renewable power should help cut costs and shield it from spikes in fossil fuel prices, especially in countries in Europe, which already have high energy costs.

Ikea produced renewable energy equivalent to 37 percent of the company's total energy use, according to its 2013 sustainability report. By the end of fiscal year 2015, Ikea says it will produce renewable energy equivalent to at least 70 percent of its energy consumption.

Photo: Ikea

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com