IKEA US announced its investment in a 98 megawatt wind farm in Hoopeston, Illinois. The wind farm, called Hoopeston Wind, is the largest single IKEA Group investment in renewable energy globally. The project is being built by Apex Clean Energy and expected to be in operation by 2015. IKEA Group will own Hoopeston Wind and Apex Clean Energy will manage its operations. Rob Olson, Chief Financial Officer of IKEA US made the announcement at an business executive briefing by companies who have signed the Climate Declaration, which calls on the government to take action on climate change, for members of the Congressional 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,” said Olson. “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.
Hoopeston Wind will generate enough electricity to power almost 39,000 average Illinois homes, or 18 percent of the electricity used by IKEA Group worldwide. The carbon emissions reduction of the wind farm equals taking 55,000 cars off the road. The wind farm will consist of 49 wind turbines installed near Hoopeston in Vermillion County, Illinois, about 110 miles south of Chicago. Illinois is a great place for a wind farm as the state ranks fourth in the U.S. for total megawatts of wind energy installed, fourth in the number of utility scale turbines installed, and fourth for number of wind-related jobs.
Hoopeston Wind will bring economic benefits to Vermillion County, which include:
- $11.3 million in new tax revenue for schools, roads and services, over the life of the wind farm
- $10 million into the local economy through direct landowner payments, over the life of the wind farm
- $17.8 million into the local economy through purchasing of good and services for construction of the wind farm
- $3 million a year ($75 million over the life of the wind farm) from purchasing of goods and services within the state for operations
- 36 local jobs in Vermillion County for construction of the wind farms
- 61 full time jobs through supply chain impacts and multiplier effects, during construction
- Five long term local jobs to operate the wind farm
IKEA is committed to renewable energy investment
IKEA Group’s goal is to generate as much renewable energy as the total energy it consumes by 2020, as stated in its 2013 sustainability report. For that reason, the company is investing in renewable energy, including wind and solar. The IKEA group produced 1,425 gigawatt hours of energy from renewable energy, equal to 37 percent of the total energy it uses globally. IKEA Group owns 206 wind turbines globally, including Canada, where the company is now the largest retail wind energy investor. The company also has installed 550,000 solar panels on IKEA buildings in nine countries. IKEA has installed solar power on 90 percent of IKEA locations in 20 states in the U.S. with a total of 165,000 solar panels providing 38 MW, making it one of the largest private owners of solar power generation in the country. It’s an investment of over $150 million.
Photo: Idaho National Laboratory