IKEA is the world’s largest home furnishings retailer, with over 340 stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the U.S. That’s one big reach. IKEA would like its reach to be powered with renewable energy.
IKEA Canada recently announced its purchase of a 46 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Alberta. The 20 turbine wind farm will be the largest owned by a Canadian retailer. It is expected to generate 161 gigawatt hours (GWh) every year, more than double the total energy consumption of IKEA Canada. That amount of energy is equivalent to 60 percent of IKEA Group electricity use in North America, or eight percent of IKEA group electricity use worldwide or 13,500 average Canadian households’ electricity use. The project is currently under construction by the global wind and solar company, Mainstream Renewable Power, and expected to be fully operational in fall 2014.
IKEA Group committed to own 157 wind turbines globally, 110 of those turbines in Europe, and has installed over 500,000 solar panels on its buildings in nine countries. The company has invested in wind farms in seven other markets, including Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. IKEA has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015. IKEA Group's goal is to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes by 2020.
“This wind farm in Alberta, along with existing solar installations at three of our Ontario stores, is a significant step to achieving IKEA’s global ambition to be energy independent by 2020, producing more renewable energy than we consume,” said Kerri Molinaro, President of IKEA Canada.
Last week, IKEA announced that it will install solar energy on the Miami-Dade area store that is currently under construction. The 416,000 square foot store will feature a 1,178 kilowatt hour (kW) solar power system that will be 178,000 square feet and consist of 4,620 panels. It will produce about 1,738,876 kWh of electricity annually for the store. That amount of electricity equals reducing 1,227 tons of carbon. The installation will be the 40th solar power project for IKEA in the U.S. and contributes to the company’s goal of solar power on almost 90 percent of its U.S. locations with a total generation goal of 38 MW.
Last month, IKEA announced that in its British stores it would be selling solar power. Specifically, the stores will sell a standard 3.36 kW photovoltaic (PV) system for £5700 at all of its 17 stores in the UK within the next 10 months. Space in its stores will be set aside for energy expert Hanergy Solar UK to showcase the benefits of solar power.
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.