This past April, IKEA, a great place to take a nap and buy a plant stand for your cramped city apartment, made its first U.S. investment in wind energy when it purchased the 98-megawatt Hoopeston Wind Farm in Vermillion County, Ill. The acquisition marked the largest global clean energy investment ever from the retailer, which also owns wind projects in Canada and a handful of European countries including Denmark, Poland and, of course, the motherland, Sweden.
In the same exact amount of time that it takes that $10 LACK side table to start to show its age, IKEA has topped its previous feat with this week’s announcement that the company has purchased itself a second and even larger U.S. wind farm, this one, go figure, in Texas.
Like the farm in Illinois, the 165-megawatt Cameron Wind operation located way deep in the heart of Texas — Cameron County is the southernmost county in the Lone Star State — will be built and maintained by Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy. Texas leads the U.S. in the production of wind energy and, according to a press statement released by IKEA, Cameron County is the new primo spot in Texas to erect a colony of turbines which, in this case, will be 3-MW Acciona Windpower turbines numbering 55. The county is also the future site of a SpaceX launch pad.
That said, the wind farm will be retailer’s only presence in ranch- and spring breaker-heavy Cameron County. The nearest IKEA store is located a 5-hour drive up the Gulf Coast in Houston.
Combined, the Cameron and Hoopeston wind farms are expected to generate 1,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually — enough juice to power 90,000 American households for a year.
With the addition of Cameron Wind, IKEA now owns and operates 279 wind turbines (104 of them in Texas and Illinois) spread across nine countries.
Says Rob Olson, acting president and CFO of IKEA US:
IKEA believes that the climate challenge requires bold commitment and action. We invest in renewable energy to become more sustainable as a business and also because it makes good business sense. And as a home furnishings retailer with sustainability in our roots, we are committed to providing products and solutions that help our customers be more sustainable in their everyday lives.
What’s more, the company has integrated geothermal heating and cooling technology into two newly built stores outside of Denver and in the Kansas City burbs.
If IKEA’s entry into wind energy seems a bit sudden, a bit urgent, it’s because the privately held retailer is working against a looming deadline: a $1.95 billion pledge to generate just as much clean energy as the company consumes on a global basis by the year 2020. With Hoopeston, and now Cameron, along with future investments that are sure to come over the next six years, IKEA’s 2020 goal sure does look promising.
In other big wind news, Google announced this week that it will buy the complete energy output of an 18-turbine on-offshore wind farm located near a massive data center that the tech giant is building in the Netherlands. Google’s $750 million Dutch data center located, coincidentally, 30 minutes down the road from an IKEA store, will be completely powered by the nearby wind farm (which is still under construction) when it opens in 2016.
Related on MNN:
- Microsoft buys energy output of Texas wind farm
- Long confined to the exurbs, IKEA experiments with bringing stores closer to town
- Blown away: Wind turbines generate enough energy to power every home in Scotland