There are companies who talk about going green, and companies who do something about it. This week, for the 206th time, IKEA proved that it belongs in the latter category. The popular home furnishings retailer recently announced its first wind power investment in the U.S., a 98 megawatt wind farm in Hoopeston, IL. Although it’s IKEA’s first wind wind farm here in the States, the company has purchased or heavily invested in over 200 wind power operations around the world. And it’s all part of the firm’s quest for total energy independence by the year 2020.
While many in the business world want to use up every last drop of subsidized fossil fuels, some, like IKEA, realize that coal and oil are dying resources. Rather than focusing on the short term benefits of these dirty, dangers forms of energy, this company has its eye on the long term prize: the energy independence made possibly by renewables like solar and wind.
“It’s about taking care of the environment and living within our means,” said Rob Olson, chief financial officer of IKEA U.S. told the Chicago Tribune. “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,” he continued.
The Illinois wind farm, which the company expects to be operational in early 2015, “will generate up to 380 gigawatt hours of renewable energy per year—enough to power 70 Ikea stores,” reports Smart Planet. IKEA has chosen Apex Clean Energy to build the installation, which will use Vestas turbines. The project will create 36 construction jobs and 54 total jobs in the state, five of which would ultimately be permanent.
IKEA already 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., and has plans to sell home solar panel systems in the UK.